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Avoid lodging returns too early, warns ATO


Waiting for all pre-filled data to be gathered before lodging is the best way to avoid processing delays and follow-up questions, says the Tax Office.

By Josh Needs 12 minute read

The ATO has warned taxpayers and tax agents to avoid rushing to lodge returns on 1 July as they risk facing processing delays and follow-up questions due to the Tax Office not having all pre-fill information. 

ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh said returns lodged in early July were more likely to be changed by the Tax Office than those who wait until the ATO has all available pre-filled information provided. 

“While you can lodge from 1 July, there is a much higher chance that your return will be missing important information if you lodge your return before late July. If you forget to include everything, it will slow down the progress of your return, and you’ll likely end up with more work to do down the track,” said Mr Loh. 


“No one likes life admin and we want to help save you some where we can. If you have simple affairs, by waiting a few more weeks until all your information is pre-filled into your tax return, you’ll save yourself extra work and worry by getting it right the first time.

“If you tried to bake a cake in an oven that wasn’t preheated, you’d end up with a half-baked disaster. Lodging your tax return before everything is similar. Be patient, wait for your data to be pre-filled, and you’ll end up with a perfectly baked tax return.” 

The ATO said waiting until at least late July before lodging meant most information from employers, banks, government agencies, and health funds would be automatically loaded into the tax return. 

“Once the information we collect is available, all you need to do is check it and add anything that’s missing. Essentially all a well-baked cake now needs is icing and sprinkles,” said Mr Loh. 

The ATO said it expected fewer people to receive a refund this year and that many would receive smaller refunds than previously with an increase in the number of individuals with tax debts to manage. 

“If you receive a debt this year that you weren’t expecting or you’re getting behind with your tax, you may be able to set up your own payment plan on the ATO website,” Mr Loh said. 

“If you need additional support, reach out to us or have a chat with your registered tax agent as early as possible so we can find a solution.” 

The Tax Office said those who make a mistake in their lodgement could easily fix the errors or omissions through the ATO online amendment process that could be accessed via myGov or dealing with a registered tax agent.

Josh Needs

Josh Needs


Josh Needs is a journalist at Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, which are the leading sources of news, strategy, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Josh studied journalism at the University of NSW and previously wrote news, feature articles and video reviews for Unsealed 4x4, a specialist offroad motoring website. Since joining the Momentum Media Team in 2022, Josh has written for Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser.

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