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Tax refunds held up by laziness

Taxman says hundreds of thousands of Australians could be missing out.

The Australian Tax Office has revealed that as many as 200,000 Australian taxpayers  have not filed tax returns despite being eligible for a return.

“We estimate there are 200,000 individual salary and wage earners who are likely to have been either due a refund or owed a small amount of tax, but who had not lodged a tax return,” said assistant tax commissioner Kath Anderson.

“Collectively, these clients have millions of dollars of unclaimed refunds.”

Anderson said some taxpayers may not be filing returns because they haven’t lodged for years but said added they shouldn’t be so anxious.

“The ATO is here to help, we want all taxpayers to get it right, and we will assist them to do so.”

Your Money Live co-hosts Brooke Corte and Chris Kohler were joined by AMP chief economist Shane Oliver and financial blogger and gender equality advocate Bianca Hartge-Hazelman to discuss the issue during the nightly Taking Stock segment.

Corte asked whether “laziness” is the root cause of the problem, which Oliver said is often the case with insurance rebate offers.

Hartge-Hazelman said some taxpayers may be scared due to higher education debts or other worries and need to become more educated on the topic.

“We need to know more about maximising deductions and returns,” she said.

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