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How Long Does Tax Return Take in Australia?

Filing annual tax return is an obligation for Austrlians. Sometimes, it gets frustrating to wait for so many days just to know whether your tax return is complete. So, the question is, how long does tax return take in Australia? Let’s find out!

How Long Does It Take to Process a Tax Return in Australia?

ATO has improved the timeline and tax return process takes upto 2 Weeks (14 days) for automatic completion and 1 Month (30 days) for manual completion. Some returns may take longer if they require further review or additional information.

ATO Record Updating Schedule:

The ATO updates their records as they receive your tax return. They also update tax information from your employers, private health insurers, and government agencies. It may take some time for all records to be updated. Be patient during the processing period.

Lodgment MethodProcessing Time
Online ReturnsUp to 2 weeks (14 days)(up to 30 days for manual processing)
Paper ReturnsUp to 10 weeks (50 business days)(up to 7 weeks to show in ATO systems)
Manual ChecksProcessing time may be longer if manual checks are required

Paper Returns: 

If you lodge a paper return by mail, ATO processing and record updates will take longer as compared to online lodgment.

What is Included in an Australian Tax Return? 

An Australian tax return includes various components to determining your tax liability or entitlement to a tax refund. These components may include:

  • Personal Information: Your personal details, including your name, date of birth, and Tax File Number (TFN).
  • Income: Details of your income from various sources, such as salary and wages, investment income, rental income, and government payments.
  • Tax Deductions: Eligible deductions that can reduce your taxable income, including work-related expenses, self-education expenses, and charitable donations.
  • Tax Offsets: Tax offsets or rebates that can reduce the amount of tax you owe, such as the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) or the Senior Australian Tax Offset (SATO).
  • Medicare Levy: Calculation of the Medicare Levy, which helps fund Australia’s public healthcare system.
  • Private Health Insurance: Information about your private health insurance coverage and any applicable rebate or loading.
  • Other Considerations: Additional elements may include child support payments, spouse details, and details of any government assistance received.

What Does Your Tax Return Status Mean?

When checking the progress of your tax return through the ATO’s online services, you may come across the following statuses. It’s important to note that not all tax returns will display all of these statuses:

In progress – Processing: This status indicates that your tax return has been received and is currently being processed by the ATO. It shows that the initial stages of assessment are underway.

In progress – Information pending: ATO requires additional information to complete your tax return process. They will reach out to you via SMS or email.

In progress – Under review: ATO is manually reviewing your tax return to check information compliance and accuracy.

In progress – Balancing account: ATO is reconciling the tax return results with their ATO accounts and other government agencies. They will calculate the tax refund amount and due tax payment. ATO may contact you for further information.

Extra processing time is required: If this status appears, it means that the ATO requires more time to complete the tax return processing. They will contact you if any further information is necessary.

Processed: This status indicates that the ATO has finished processing your tax return. You can select the down arrow to view the estimated date of assessment issuance.

Issued – Outcome: It means that the ATO has processed your tax return and you can now see the outcome. This includes any tax refund you may be entitled to or the amount you owe as a tax debt. If you owe any tax amount, you can select the “Notice of assessment” link to view the due date for payment.

Checking for Your Tax Return Status Updates 

The ATO updates their records periodically throughout the tax return processing cycle. Here are some ways to check your tax return progress:

Check Tax Return Progress:

From ATO Website:

You can check your tax return status through the ATO’s website services. 

  • Login to your MyGov portal
  • Click on ATO from your linked services
  • Go to the ATO MyTax Account Home Page
  • Select “Manage Tax Returns”
  • Enter the income year to check your Tax return status

From ATO Mobile App

  • Get the ATO Mobile App
  • Login to your account
  • Enter income year e.g 2022-23

By Calling ATO

You can also Get help from a registered Tax Agent.

Reasons for Delay in Tax Return Processing:

Sometimes your tax return processing may take longer than the standard 2-weeks processing time. Here are some reasons why your tax return processing is delayed:

Multiple lodgments or amendments: If you attempt to lodge your tax return again after a previous lodgment or make amendments before the ATO finishes processing your original return or any prior amendments, it can cause a delay in processing.

Lodging multiple years at once: Filing tax returns for several years simultaneously can result in a longer processing time.

Insolvency administration: If you are under an insolvency administration, such as bankruptcy or debt arrangement, ensure that your insolvency practitioner notifies the ATO of your situation before lodging your tax return.

Outdated bank account details: If the Australian financial institution account details provided in your tax return are not up to date, it can delay the processing of your return.

Verification and cross-checking: The ATO may need to verify the information in your tax return by contacting your employer, financial institutions, private health insurers, or yourself. This verification process can contribute to processing delays.

Information checks with other government agencies: The ATO may need to coordinate with other Australian government agencies, such as Services Australia (Centrelink) or Child Support, to ensure any outstanding amounts are settled. In such cases, part or all of your tax refund may be allocated to these agencies, and you will be notified accordingly.

Existing or unresolved tax debt: If you have a tax debt or previously unresolved tax debt with the ATO, it can impact the processing time of your tax return.

On-hold tax debt: If you have a tax debt that was previously put on hold (also known as a re-raised or non-pursued debt), it can cause delays in processing.


Filing an Australian tax return takes approximately 2 weeks for online returns. It is important to complete your tax return diligently to avoid unnecessary tax delays. Keep an eye out for ATO notifications via SMS or email for tax status updates or additional information.

Read More:


[1] Check the progress of your tax return | Australian Taxation Office

  • Jaxon Rylah

    Jaxon Rylah, an Australian of diverse heritage, brings a wealth of expertise to his role as an Author at Taxly.ai. With over 5 years of experience in the field, Jaxon's deep understanding of accounting principles and regulations allows him to provide...

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