Show download pdf controls
  • Electronic refunds

    The fastest, most secure way for your clients to receive refunds is through electronic funds transfer (EFT) into an Australian financial institution account. Financial institutions include banks, building societies and credit unions.

    When you prepare a tax return for a client, enter their Australian financial institution account details before lodging. You can do this through ATO enabled practice management software.

    You must provide financial institution account details every time you lodge, even if you have provided the details before.

    On this page:

    Use correct details

    Incorrect account information is the most common reason refunds go astray or are delayed. We offer these tips to help you get it right:

    • Don't rely on old information – confirm your clients account details every year.
    • Having incorrect or out-dated information on your computer, and continuing to use it, may delay refunds to your clients.
    • Your clients may want their refunds to go into different accounts than they did in previous years or their BSB or account numbers may have changed.
    • Be sure you enter details correctly – incorrect account details will delay your client's refund, or the refund could go to the wrong account.

    Paper forms

    If you have to lodge returns by paper, include Australian financial institution account details for all returns.

    Multiple-year returns: Even if you lodge multiple-year tax returns on or around the same day, they can be processed in any order. This is why you must enter current client information on every return.

    Using your trust account

    Depending on arrangements you have with clients, refunds can be deposited directly into their accounts, or into your trust account on their behalf.

    The EFT reconciliation report available in both the Practitioner lodgment service (PLS) and Electronic lodgment service (ELS) can help you reconcile your trust account.

    To receive the report through PLS, you must add the report to your subscription and provide details of your trust account to the ATO through your software.

    For ELS, you need to request the statement only once – then, each time a refund is directed into your trust account, a statement is automatically generated through your primary ELS gateway.

    If you are unable to forward the refund to your client, you should return the refund to us using the same lodgment reference number as the original refund so we can correctly identify the refund belongs to your client. You can return the refund by the following method:

    Electronic funds transfer (EFT) to ATO Deposit Trust Fund


    Reserve Bank of Australia



    Account number:


    Account name:

    ATO Deposit Trust Fund


    Lodgment reference field number

    You can obtain the lodgment reference field number from the original refund. The lodgment reference field number will be shown on your client's bank statement.

    See also:

    • PLS reports
    • What to do if your details change – Registered agent number and trust account details 
    • Code of Professional Conduct – Holding money or other property on trust – visit the Tax Practitioners Board website at Link

    No account available

    We understand there may be circumstances when a client may not be able to provide account details. If this is the case, and you cannot provide your own trust account details, you can phone us on 13 72 86 Fast Key Code 1 3 1 2 for help.

    Clients who have to pay tax

    If an assessment results in an amount owing, we issue a notice of assessment providing details on how to pay, including paying online using BPAY® or credit/debit card. Our existing debt-collection practices continue to apply.

    See also:

    Last modified: 30 Aug 2018QC 39709