How to see if you are owed a refund
The quickest way to estimate how much your tax refund will be is to use the Group Certificate your employer will provide to you within the first couple of weeks in July. If you don’t have this and want to get an estimate on how much tax you are likely to have paid, you can use our tax return calculator.
Once you have entered in details about your wages or salary, additional earnings, and tax withholdings, the tax return calculator will display:
- A summary of your earnings
- The total amount of tax paid
- If you have overpaid tax - and how much you will receive as a tax refund, which is more likely than underpaying
If you are unsure of your earnings or your total taxable income, you can use the Pay Calculator to see a detailed breakdown of your salary, including tax offsets, superannuation, and taxable income.
Example of tax refund calculation
|Tax on Income||$12,247|
How much will I pay on my tax return?
Australian income tax is levied at progressive tax rates. The lowest bracket is 0%, known as the tax-free rate for individuals on low incomes. Tax rates increase progressively up to 45% for incomes over $180,000.
The tax you need to pay depends on your taxable income and other factors that impact tax payable such as:
- Residency status
- Student debt
- Medical cover
- Marital status
- Benefits you may be eligible for
You can find more information about each of these in the Additional Resources section at the end of this guide.
How to get a tax refund
To get a tax refund, you will need to lodge an end-of-year tax return. You will need to submit your tax return to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), and this can be done in three ways:
- By post
- Through a registered tax agent
Tax returns must be completed and lodged no later than 31 October following the end of the most recent tax year. For the 2019 - 2020 tax year, you will need to lodge your tax return no later than 31 October, 2020.
Lodging your tax return online is often the fastest and easiest way to submit your financials and receive a refund. You can complete a tax return form online by joining myTax through the ATO website, which will show a detailed breakdown of your estimated tax refund. Most refunds are issued within 2 weeks.
|Pros ||Cons |
- Convenient and secure
- Most tax return information is pre-filled
- Requires sign-up to myGov and myTax
- Doesn’t provide guidance on deductions - you may not receive the full refund you are entitled to
To access myTax, you will first need to create a myGov account and link this account to the ATO.
If you cannot access myTax, or prefer to submit a paper tax refund, you can download a Tax Return for Individuals form from the ATO website. You will also need to provide supplementary information if you are including income generated from:
- A partnership or trust
- Capital gains
- Foreign payments
- Rental properties
Most refunds are issued within 50 business days of lodging a return.
|Pros ||Cons |
- Doesn’t require internet access
- Doesn’t require computer literacy
- Many workers are familiar with paper tax returns
- Longer wait for refunds - up to 50 business days
- You’ll need to request a tax return package from the ATO or download one online
- You’ll be responsible for mailing your return to the ATO
Through a registered tax agent
A registered tax agent can also help prepare and lodge your tax return. You will need to first select an agent registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), and make an appointment to discuss your tax return.
Once you’ve chosen your agent, you will need to prepare any tax records to take to the appointment - if you are using the ATO’s myDeductions tool, you can track any work-related deductions throughout the year and email then directly to your tax agent.
Your agent will prepare your tax return and inform you of any possible improvements, or additional deductions which you may be unaware of. As they offer the most comprehensive preparation of your tax return, using a tax agent will often ensure you receive the maximum refund possible.
|Pros ||Cons |
- A professional will prepare your tax return
- Ensures all deductions are included
- Will offer suggestions on improving your tax return
You’ll need to keep accurate records of any expenses and possible deductions
- Can inform you about deductions you are unaware of
- Fees required to prepare and submit your tax return
- Requires choosing a tax agent and making an appointment
- You’ll need to keep accurate records of any expenses and possible deductions
Do bonuses or commission affect my tax return?
Employers are required to withhold a certain amount of employee earnings for tax obligations. Withholding tax is calculated each pay cycle, which means if you receive bonuses or commission in addition to your regular salary or wage, you may notice a higher rate of tax being applied to your earnings from one week to the next.
When you lodge your end-of-year tax return, your total earnings for the year will be assessed in relation to the tax withheld by your employer. If you have paid too much tax, you will receive a tax refund.
Other Money.com.au Calculators
Need to make other calculations? Our Money.com.au calculators can be used to estimate vehicle loan repayments, GST on purchases, capital gains, interest earned on term deposits, and much more. You can visit our dedicated page to view the full list of financial calculators.