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Missing tax return refunds

Options are available to you if you can't find a tax refund you're expecting through electronic funds transfer (EFT).

Last updated 20 June 2024

Types of missing and incorrect refunds

There are different types of missing and incorrect refunds, these include:

  • a refund was paid to an account that has officially been closed with the bank
  • a refund has been paid to a known bank account, this could be:    
    • an old bank account you have as your current nominated account that is still active but unused
    • the bank account of a related party which you have currently nominated (for example a spouse or business)
    • the trust account of your registered tax agent which you or they have currently nominated
  • the refund has been paid to an incorrect bank account or a bank account belonging to an unrelated third party. This could be because of an error with the details we hold. For example, you provide an incorrect BSB or account number when lodging your tax return.

If you are expecting a refund via electronic funds transfer (EFT), check the bank account your refund was sent to by signing in to ATO online services through myGov.

Ensure your bank account details are up to date so we can send you your refund quickly and securely.

Locating your refund

Depending on the bank account details you've supplied to us, there are ways to locate your refund if you are expecting one:

For closed bank accounts

If your refund was paid to a closed bank account, your refund will be returned to us by the Reserve Bank of Australia. This can take up to 10 days.

You should update your bank details so we can re-issue the refund to your current account. If you don't, we may contact you to request you update them, so we can pay your refund quickly and securely.

If there are no updated bank account details, we will re-issue your refund by cheque within 10 days of the refund being returned to us.

For known bank accounts

In most circumstances where the refund is paid to a known bank account, we are unable to retrieve the funds for you.

Since we have paid the refund into the bank account as nominated by you, recovery of this money is a civil matter between you and the account holder. You will need to approach the owner of the account in order to obtain the funds.

For incorrect bank accounts

If your refund was paid to an incorrect bank account, or to an unrelated third party bank account, contact us and we will attempt to recover the refund on your behalf.

Attempting to identify, contact and retrieve funds from third parties can take over 28 days.

Contact us if you believe that your account has been misused.