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New financial year a taxing time for Australians

22 July 2019


  • Australians feel confident (64%) about lodging their tax return, but would still rather complete household chores (31%) or wash their car (24%)
  • Lodging a tax return incorrectly (29%) and time constraints (23%) among the top barriers associated with completing a tax return
  • Westpac’s mobile banking features can help make tax time easier for Australians


New research from Westpac reveals Australians are welcoming the arrival of tax season, with nearly two thirds (64%) feeling confident in their ability to lodge a tax return.

The majority of Australians (83%) know exactly what supporting documents are needed to get started – such as your tax file number, receipts to support any expense claims, and your interest and tax summaries – and more than half (59%) are vigilant in tracking their claimable expenses throughout the year.

However, some Australians would still prefer to complete mundane tasks like doing household chores (31%), washing their car (24%) or even taking out the rubbish (22%) over getting on top of their taxes.

Australians also appear to have mixed emotions towards tax time; while half (49%) felt positive about lodging their return, describing the process exciting (19%) and relaxing (18%), three quarters (74%) felt less positively, finding the process stressful (17%) and confusing (13%)1.

The biggest barriers identified when it comes to lodging their tax return included not lodging the return correctly (29%), time constraints (23%) and not having transaction information easily available (22%).

Jane Watts, General Manager, Westpac Retail and Premium Bank, said submitting your tax return doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience.

“It’s encouraging to see so many Australians feel positive about lodging their tax return, however the research also suggests pain points that often come with ‘life admin’ tasks can be off-putting with half of Australians planning to take their time submitting their return this financial year2.

“While it might be tempting to put off lodging your tax return, there are a range of services available to help reduce tax time headaches; to help get prepared, customers can take advantage of Westpac’s online and mobile banking features, which offer quick and convenient access to important information such as transaction history, tax summary and interest summary statements,” said Watts.

According to the research, more than half (58%) of Australians indicated they’re expecting a refund from their tax return this year, and intend to put refunded money towards their savings (44%) or pay off bills or existing debt (24%), while nearly one in five (18%) will splurge on something they’ve been saving up for.

“It’s encouraging to see Australians are intending to boost their savings or pay down debt. With an average tax return of $2,5713, the findings also found Australians are looking to build their long-term wealth by either investing their tax return or even putting it towards a home deposit,” Watts added.

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Westpac’s online & mobile banking features that can help you this tax time:

  • Download your interest and tax summary
    Through online and mobile banking, you can download your summary to verify your bank account interest when you lodge your tax return. Your summary shows interest paid, received, withheld tax and up to three years of financial history.
  • Simply access transaction history to help get your deductibles sorted
    Quickly find out how much you can claim by searching up to three years of transaction history in your online and mobile banking.
  • Collect other summary statements
    Download up to seven years of statements to help you reconcile your finances when you complete your return.
  • Be alerted when you receive a deposit
    Customers can set up alerts for when they receive a direct deposit, so they know if a tax refund has been deposited into their account.

Checklist of supporting documents to help you prepare for tax time4:

  • Personal information
    Including your Tax File Number, bank account and Medicare details.
  • Income and expense details
    This can include your tax and interest summaries, receipts for any charitable gifts or donations, receipts for any work-related expenses, and a record of any income received this financial year.
  • Investment details
    Information about any income generated from shares or other investments you might have.
  • Properties
    Details about any rental income or expenses related to an investment property.



Media enquiries

Emalie McPherson

M: 0481 915 557

Stamie Jasenec

M: 0434 910 036



About the research

A survey of 1,000 Australians (aged 18+) was undertaken in June 2019 to understand their behaviours and attitudes towards tax time and lodging a tax return. A cross-section of the Australian population was surveyed which is statistically representative of the national census.


149% of Australians associated tax time with positive emotions, feeling excited (19%), relaxed (18%) and happy (12%), while 74% associated the process with negative emotions such as stress (17%), confusion (13%) and nervousness (11%)

2Nearly half (46%) of Australians don’t plan on lodging their tax return immediately this year – 38% will take their time, and 8% will procrastinate and leave it until the last minute

3Australian Taxation Office, 2016-17 taxation statistics

4Depending on your individual circumstances, a full checklist of supporting documents can be accessed via the ATO website