How much cash Aussies are getting back in their tax refund
Tax refunds average $2850 so far, Victoria knocks Tassie off economic perch, and CommBank helps customers track their eco-footprint. Here are five things you may have missed this week.
Ready, set, lodge!
It's game-on for tax refunds, with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) advising the majority of people can now go ahead and lodge their tax return as more than 80 million pieces of information are available in pre-fill.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh explains "Much of the information we collect from employers, banks, private health insurers, share registries and other institutions, is now ready to go in your tax return."
If you have information that needs to be entered manually, the ATO is warning the details need to be accurate. This includes income from rentals, side hustles and the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment from Services Australia.
So far this tax time over $5.7 billion has been refunded to more than 2 million Australians. That's an average refund of about $2850.
Loh says, "Four out of five people receive a refund, with most refunds issued in less than two weeks."
He notes the process can't be sped up but it is possible to track the progress of your refund through ATO online services or the ATO app.
Victoria knocks Tassie off top economic perch
Take a bow Victoria. Despite lengthy periods in lockdown last year, Victoria has just been nominated as the nation's best performing state economy.
The latest CommSec State of the States report sees Tassie knocked off the top of the leader-board of best-performing states - a position it has held for an impressive nine consecutive quarters.
The report ranks states by eight key indicators including economic growth, retail spending, unemployment and population growth.
CommSec Chief Economist Craig James says, "Victoria may have moved to the top of the economic leader-board, but there is little to separate the top four economies".
CommSec lined up the states in the following order:
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
CommBank customers set to view their carbon footprint
Commonwealth Bank customers will be able to view their personalised carbon footprint using the CommBank app from early August.
The rollout to all CommBank retail customers follows a pilot launched in October 2021, which allowed more than 250,000 customers to view their carbon footprint, with close to one-third of those who participated taking further steps to learn more about their eco-impact.
The technology will allow the bank's retail customers to view their monthly carbon footprint with a comparison to the national average.
The app will also let users see a breakdown of their carbon emissions grouped into everyday spending categories like utilities, transport and shopping. Users will also have the option to select actions to help manage their eco-footprint.
Ben Morgan, CommBank's General Manager Strategy Investments and Transformation says the new tool provides "personalised and granular information to customers about how their spending translates to a carbon footprint."
Westpac launches digital mortgage
Not to be outdone by rivals CommBank and NAB, both of which have ramped up their digital home loan offering, Westpac has announced it will be launching a digital mortgage where customers can gain unconditional approval in as little as 10 minutes.
Westpac Group CEO Peter King says the changes are being driven by customers who want banking services that are fast, secure, and personalised to meet their needs.
Westpac's new digital mortgage won't be available until the final quarter of 2022, and it will initially only be available to refinancers taking out Westpac's Flexi First variable home loan.
Caravan buyers beware
As Australians hit the open road in droves, caravan sales have topped a 30-year high, with more than 750,000 recreational vehicles such as caravans and motorhomes registered across Australia.
A caravan is a major investment with seven out of 10 buyers paying over $60,000 for their home on wheels.
However, the consumer watchdog says the purchase experience has been far from relaxing for many buyers.
In a survey of 2270 caravan owners, a worrying 80% reported problems with their new caravan.
The ACCC's new caravan retailing report reveals widespread consumer guarantee failures, misrepresentations by caravan suppliers, and unexpected delays in the delivery and repair of caravans.
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard says, "A caravan can represent a significant financial and emotional investment. Some people save for years in anticipation of purchasing and travelling in a caravan. If something goes wrong the harm can be significant."
In response, the ACCC has released guidelines on buying a new caravan to help consumers understand their rights and obligations.
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