Feeling financial strain? Could REALLY do with that tax refund? Read on…

Feeling financial strain? Could REALLY do with that tax refund? If you’re going through a bit of a hard time financially, but have your fingers crossed for a tax refund this year, the ATO may be able to push your refund payment along. Feeling financial strain? Could REALLY tax refund?

Applying to have your refund processed as a priority because of serious financial hardship could see it get through the taxation system within seven working days, if everything goes smoothly, says the ATO.

It does mention however that turnaround times may be affected if you have liabilities with other government agencies such as Centrelink or the Child Support Agency, or it could take longer if more than one year’s return is involved.

What is serious financial hardship?
The ATO says a person is considered to be in serious hardship when they are unable to provide for themselves, their family or other dependants with regard to:

  • food
  • accommodation
  • clothing
  • medical treatment
  • education, and
  • other basic necessities.

Factors contributing to serious hardship generally include family tragedy, financial misfortune, serious illness, impacts of natural disasters, and other serious or difficult circumstances.

What you need to apply
To apply, see this ATO web page to find out more. You will need your tax file number on hand, but also some documents that will prove your case. These can include:

  • eviction notice
  • disconnection notice
  • notice of legal action
  • letter from a charitable organisation
  • bank notice (eg, overdraft call)
  • medical bills
  • letter from a doctor or legal practitioner
  • final notice from a school
  • funeral expenses, and
  • repossession notice.

Businesses can provide:

  • current bank notice
  • bank notices, eg overdraft call
  • eviction notice
  • disconnection notice
  • repossession notice
  • notice of impending legal action
  • staff pay records
  • contract payment schedules
  • legal documents.

The ATO says that it takes many factors into account when assessing your claim for serious financial hardship, and that providing one or more of the pieces of evidence listed above may not necessarily result in you being granted serious financial hardship status.

Tax agent information

Tax agents can request hardship processing for individual and business clients by sending a secure mail message in the tax agent portal.

Include the following information in your secure mail message:

  • Topic: Refunds/remissions: Financial hardship refunds.
  • tax file number (TFN)
  • name
  • daytime contact number
  • year of return
  • refund amount (if known)
  • copies of evidence to support application.

If the ATO needs more information, it says it will try to call within one business day.


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