Are you a tax professional needing a bit more time to lodge? Check out how to apply online for a deferral, or ask the Community!
Started ‎13 July 2018 by
Modified ‎8 June 2021 by

Explaining timeframes, ‘processed’ and ‘effective’ dates and balancing accounts

If you’ve lodged online we’ll aim to finalise the outcome within two weeks. If you send us paper forms, it can take up to 10 weeks – while we manually enter and process your documentation.


You can use our online services via myGov to track the progress of your tax return in real time as it moves through the following stages:



Status and outcome


In progress

We’ve received your return, and we’ve started processing it.


In progress – information pending

We’re collecting information to help us complete processing your return. This may take several days. We may contact you if we need some extra information from you.


In progress – under review

This status indicates that we’re reviewing your return to make sure everything is right before we finalise it. We may contact you if we need additional information.



We are reviewing your tax return. This may include ensuring you have included all the information that has been reported to us.
You should not attempt to lodge your return again.


In progress – balancing account

Balancing accounts indicates that we have the result of your return, and that we’re calculating your refund or bill based on your account balance. Your return may still take a few more days while we review your accounts with us and other Australian Government agencies.


In progress – processing

We’ve finalised your return and generating your notice of assessment.


Issued - $ Amount

You’ll be able to see your notice of assessment in myGov, along with the effective date for payment if you’re entitled to a refund.

Your refund will be sent to your nominated bank account.

What’s the difference between ‘processed’ dates and ‘effective’ dates?

The processed date is the date we finish processing your return and update your tax account.

If you’re entitled to a refund, the effective date is usually the date we send your refund to your financial institution. You’ll need to check with your financial institution to find out how long it may take for them to process your refund.

If you have a tax bill, the effective date will be the date your payment is due.

My return has taken longer than two weeks. What do I do?

We do our best to process tax returns within two weeks, but there are reasons why it may take longer – for example, if:

  • We need to check information in your return. We may need to contact payers, financial institutions, private health insurers or you to confirm or cross-check information in your return. You don’t need to take any action – if we need any additional information from you, we’ll let you know.
  • You’ve lodged tax returns for several years all at once. We need to process all of your returns so we can make sure your account is up to date before we issue any refunds or requests for payment.
  • You’ve entered into a debt or bankruptcy arrangement. If you’ve declared insolvency or entered into a Part IX agreement, we need to undertake additional checks before we can finalise your return. Check to make sure your insolvency practitioner advises us of your situation before you lodge your tax return.
  • We need to check in with other Australian Government agencies (like Centrelink or the Child Support Agency). We’re required to pay part or all of your tax refund to other agencies if there are outstanding amounts, and we’ll write to let you know if this is the case.

Where possible, we’ll let you know if we need you to take any action, especially if we need extra information from you to process your return. You don’t need to phone us to follow up on the progress of your return as you can use myGov to track the progress of your return.

I need my tax refund to pay my bills.

We know that people experiencing financial difficulties or serious hardship often rely on their tax refund to help pay for essential goods and services. If you can demonstrate that you’re experiencing serious financial hardship, we may be able to process your return as a priority.

If you don’t meet these criteria, you can keep up-to-date with the progress of your return via myGov.

Labels (2)