A study from H&R Block found 71% of Aussies do not consider themselves to be confused about their tax return compared to previous years, despite the changes caused by COVID-19. 

But the tax services company said the pandemic had seen many people plough into new financial pastures like purchasing a new home or an investment property, investing in shares and cryptocurrencies, launching a new business, or being forced into early retirement. 

“When facing these new milestones, many don’t have the resources for making the jump nor are they equipped for the tax changes and associated costs and benefits, and could risk being audited by the ATO,” at H&R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman said. 

“Australians who have done well on the share market, with property or even with Bitcoin during the past year face being audited if they get their returns wrong.

"Australians can face a 25% penalty for carelessly miscalculating how much they earned from shares, investment properties, and now cryptocurrency.”

See also: Property vs Shares - which is the better investment?


Need somewhere to store cash and earn interest? The table below features savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.

Provider

4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance

High Interest Savings Account (< $250k)

  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance
010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

Savings Maximiser (<$100k)

    010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
    • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
    • No account fees
    • Easy access to your money

    Saver Account (<$250k)

    • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
    • No account fees
    • Easy access to your money
    4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
    • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
    • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties

    Savings Account (Amounts < $250k)

    • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
    • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
    05001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
    • Maximum Age - 24

    Goal Saver

    • Maximum Age - 24
    02000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
    No monthly fees
    • Download the App to open your account
    • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
    • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
    No monthly fees

    Save Account

    • Download the App to open your account
    • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
    • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
    0200$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
    • No fees or penalties for withdrawing money
    • Savings guaranteed up to $250,000
    • Maximise your savings and reach your goals faster with Auto-Savings

    Bonus Saver Account (Amounts < $250k)

    • No fees or penalties for withdrawing money
    • Savings guaranteed up to $250,000
    • Maximise your savings and reach your goals faster with Auto-Savings
    010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
    For customers aged 14-35 years
    For customers aged 14-35 years

    Future Saver Account ( < $50k)

      010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

      Boost Saver

        Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

        All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of April 21, 2024. View disclaimer.


        The study found 32% of Australians believed the Australian Tax Office (ATO) would be scrutinising their tax return more closely this year and cracking down on refunds. 

        Come July 1, a quarter said they would consider switching to a professional tax agent for this year's return rather than the myTax portal due to COVID. 

        "Bumper tax return" for many

        Just over half of survey respondents said they didn't think they would get a bigger refund this year compared to last year, but Mr Chapman this was unlikely to be the case. 

        “Australians will get a bumper tax return this year due to the Low-and Middle-Income Tax Offset and also the change in tax thresholds from 1 July 2020," he said. 

        "For all those Aussies who expect to pay tax this year, this could come as a pleasant surprise as the impact of both measures could mean they are actually due a refund, or at the least a decrease in their tax liability.”

        Although the pandemic had complicated many people's Aussies tax returns, 66% of Aussies said they felt more confident when completing their tax return this year. 

        Mr Chapman said individuals needed to realise there was no one-size fits all approach to completing tax returns. 

        “Every tax return is different, with varying deductions and offsets," he said. 

        In the last year, temporary full expensing has been introduced, tax thresholds have been changed and offsets have been extended.

        "Working from home has been common, with the resulting tax dilemma (which of the three methods to use?) causing confusion," Mr Chapman said. 

        A third of Aussies thought the implications associated with the pandemic would make completing their tax return even harder. 

        Almost half (44%) said they would be putting their tax refund back into their savings account, with a further 25% looking to pay off debt. 

        Photo by Romain Dancre on Unsplash

        Disclaimers

        Savings.com.au does not provide tax advice. This material has been prepared by Savings.com.au and is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax advice.

        For tax advice relevant to you, visit the ATO or consult an independent tax advisor.