The ATO aim to process electronically lodged tax returns within two weeks. Paper tax returns are processed manually and can take up to 10 weeks (may take up to seven weeks to show on ATO systems). However, some tax returns may require manual checks and take longer.
On this page:
- Tracking the progress of your return
- The status of your return
- SMS and email communications
- Why your return may be delayed
- Your notice of assessment
- Fix a mistake and amend your tax return
Tracking the progress of your tax return
The quickest and easiest way to check the progress of your tax return is by using ATO online services.
If you have a myGov account linked to the ATO, you can check the progress of your tax returns and amendments, and view your lodgments at any time for:
- the current year
- prior financial years.
If you haven’t got a myGov account, it’s easy to get started.
Once you’ve logged in, from the home page select Manage tax returns, then select the financial year you are checking. The status shows how your tax return is progressing.
Check with your registered tax agent
If you lodged with a registered tax agent, either you or your agent can check the progress of your tax return.
You can still check the progress of your tax return at any time by logging in to ATO online services via myGov.
Check by phone
Use our self-help service at any time:
- phone 13 28 65 – have your tax file number handy
- choose option 1 and then option 1.
The status of your tax return
When you check the progress of your tax return using our online services, you might see one of these statuses (not all tax returns will display all of these):
- In progress – Processing
You may see this status at two stages of processing:
- the ATO have received your tax return and started processing it, or
- the ATO have finalised your tax return and are issuing a notice of assessment (you will see an estimated assessment issue date by clicking the down arrow).
- In progress – Information pending
The ATO are collecting information to help finish processing your tax return. They will contact you if they need more information.
- In progress – Under review
The ATO are manually reviewing your tax return to make sure everything is right before we finalise it. This may include reviewing your prior-year returns. They will contact you if they need more information.
- In progress – Balancing account
The ATO are balancing the result of your tax return with your accounts with the ATO and other Australian Government agencies, and calculating the amount they will refund or you need to pay. They will contact you if they need more information.
Don’t worry, your tax return has not been lost. The ATO are reviewing your tax return, this may include ensuring you have included all the information that has been reported to the ATO. You should not attempt to lodge your tax return again, as this may cause further delays. The ATO will contact you if they need more information.
- Issued – $ Amount
You’ll be able to see your notice of assessment online, along with the date for payment and if you’re entitled to a refund.
If you provided valid Australian bank account details to the ATO when you lodged, they will pay your refund directly into your nominated account.
Email and SMS communications
The ATO may send you an email or SMS (text message) to let you know:
- if your tax return or refund has been delayed and why
- when your refund is on its way.
ATO messages will never ask you to reply by SMS or email to provide personal information, such as your tax file number (TFN).
Why your tax return may be delayed
Although most tax returns lodged online will be processed in two weeks, some tax returns may take longer to process. For example, if:
- you have attempted to lodge your tax return again after previously lodging
- you have made an amendment before ATO have finalised your original tax return or any previously lodged amendments
- you have lodged tax returns for several years at once
- you have a tax debt or previously unresolved tax debt with the ATO
- you are under an insolvency administration, for example bankruptcy or debt arrangement (check to make sure your insolvency practitioner advises ATO of your situation before you lodge your tax return)
- the Australian financial institution account details you included in your tax return are not current
- ATO need to check information in your tax return – they may need to contact your employer, financial institutions, private health insurers or you to confirm or cross-check information in your tax return
- ATO need to check information with other Australian Government agencies, for example, Services Australia, including Centrelink or Child Support – the ATO are required to pay part or all of your tax refund to other agencies if there are outstanding amounts (you will be notified if this was the case).
If your tax return is delayed, you do not need to contact the ATO. They will contact you if they need more information and will keep you or your agent informed of any ongoing delays.
You can check the progress of your tax return online by using ATO online services.
If you think your circumstances put you under serious financial hardship consider requesting priority processing and they may be able to help your tax return be processed quicker.
Your notice of assessment
Once ATO have processed your tax return, they’ll issue a notice of assessment telling you if you’re entitled to a refund or that you have a tax debt to pay.
If you have a myGov account linked to the ATO, your notice of assessment will be sent to your myGov Inbox. You will receive an email or SMS from myGov telling you your tax return has been finalised.
If you lodged your tax return by mail, your paper notice of assessment will be sent to the postal address they have recorded for you.
Fix a mistake and amend your tax return
If you’ve made a mistake or forgot to include something in your tax return, you can quickly and easily amend your tax return using ATO online services via myGov.
If you need to lodge an amendment, wait until you have received notification that your original tax return or any previously lodged amendments have been processed and you have received your most up-to-date notice of assessment. This will help reduce future processing delays.
After logging into your myGov account, go to ATO online services, then select the Manage tax returns tile on the homepage.
Online amendments are usually processed within four weeks and up to 10 weeks for amendments made in writing.
If you lodged with a registered tax agent, either you or your agent can amend your tax return.