So, you’ve been a good little Australian citizen. You filed your return long before the deadline; you double, triple and quadruple checked everything. There isn’t a tick out of place, and you haven’t claimed a single cent more on those business expenses than you deserve.
Let’s say that you filed your return online, because you really need your refund to book that holiday at the end of the year and the 10-14 business day return dates are a lot more attractive than the 50 business day return the ATO promises for paper returns. It’s been almost a month and a half and you still haven’t received your refund. What do you do?
Well, if you’re a self-lodger the first thing you should do is jump on the myGov website and track the progress of your return. This will let you know if they are any issues or mistakes on your lodgment that need to be amended before you can receive your return.
If you have used an online tax agent, such as Online Tax Australia, you can contact them and they should follow up for you at no extra charge.
Either way there is a chance that something a little more mysterious has happened to your tax return and you find the ATO is showing that you haven’t lodged a return. This may mead the return is trapped in the ATO ‘Suspense Pool’ or it is caught in the ATO Electronic Gateway.
What Is The Suspense Pool?
Each year up to 7,000 tax returns end up in the suspense pool, which is the name for the place where all tax return that can’t be processed by the ATO are held. This may be due to incorrectly entered data fields, information is missing, you have already lodged a return or be due to a simple technical problem. The worst part is because these returns are stopped at the front door of the ATO system, the ATO isn’t even aware that the return has been lodged but their system does recognize that the tax file number has been used and therefore prevents a replacement return from being lodged.
Getting the ATO to recognize the return can be frustrating and may require lodging an official complaint as extracting returns from the pool requires manual intervention.
So, if you’ve lodged a return and have not received your refund and notice of assessment there’s a fair chance it is floating somewhere in the murky depths of the suspense pool and you need to report it missing. Using an experienced online tax agent service not only helps ensure you receive you full entitlement, it also provide peace of mind that you have access to direct support should there be any issues with the processing of your tax return by the ATO.