According to a study by Commonwealth Bank, the average Australian taxpayer may be missing out on more than $1,000 due to lost receipts, equating to a total of $7.3 billion nationwide. This loss may be down to the one in two (51%) Australian taxpayers who misplace vital receipts needed to support their tax return.
The study of more than 1,000 Australians reveals it's largely receipts for everyday expenses we're most prone to misplacing. Topping the list of Australian taxpayer's most lost receipts are:
stationary and office equipment (25%);closely followed by fuel (24%) and parking (24%); and
other receipts Australians are most likely to lose include tolls (15%), travel (14%) and internet usage (11%).
Interestingly, the study shows big differences in the value Australian taxpayers think they are missing - between genders, age groups and locations:
men may be out of pocket by three times as much as women ($5.5 billion Vs. $1.8 billion); 18-35 year olds may miss out on $2.5 billion more than 36-50+ year olds ($4.9 billion Vs.$2.4 billion); and
those living in capital cities could be losing on almost four times as much as those living in regional areas ($5.8 billion Vs. $1.5 billion).
Lost receipts for tax returns are not only potentially costing Aussies billions of dollars, but their lack of organisation is impacting on their personal time. Once they start looking, the average Australian taxpayer spends more than two (2.2) hours looking for receipts and supporting documentation for their tax return, which means as a nation more than 1,800 years are spent looking for lost receipts each year.
With many Australians becoming increasingly frustrated with the annual search for receipts and supporting documentation, Commonwealth Bank has developed a revolutionary new online virtual safety deposit box - NetBank Vault. In an Australian banking first, the new online virtual safety deposit box allows customers to save important documents such as pay slips, scanned copies of passports/drivers licences and receipts in their online bank account, backed with the greatest online security.
According to Drew Unsworth, General Manager of Online Banking, Commonwealth Bank, NetBank Vault offers Australians a secure place online to store receipts and supporting documentation needed for tax returns.
"Our research shows that millions of Australians may be missing out on large sums of money because they simply can't find receipts at tax time. We live in a virtual world, so searching through reams of paper every year does not make sense. What's more, with many everyday expenses now being created online, the need to keep piles of paper receipts is slowly disappearing," said Mr Unsworth.
"Even for the most organised people who make the effort to keep hard copies filed, there's always the possibility that receipts will get misplaced or lost. By having a virtual copy in an online hub you trust, you not only have access to your receipts anytime and anywhere, but it's also much easier to find what you are looking for at tax time - potentially saving Australians thousands of dollars, not to mention valuable time, every year."
With more than one in five (23%) Australian taxpayers believing there's nothing they can do about lost receipts, many are seeing the benefits of being able to store receipts virtually. Looking forward to tax time 2013, the majority of Australian taxpayers say they can see the benefit of storing everything in one place, to help them save time looking for receipts (54%) and to get a bigger tax return (31%).
NetBank Vault: the cost of lost receipts State-by--State Key Findings
In July 2012 Commonwealth Bank commissioned a study to investigate how much lost receipts were costing Australians in missed tax rebates. The study was conducted amongst 1,055 Australians aged 18 years and over, between Wednesday, 11th of July 2012 and Friday, 13th of July 2012.
The State-by-State key findings are outlined below:
In total, taxpayers from NSW are set to miss out on the biggest tax rebates.
State-by-state totals for missed tax rebates due to lost receipts are:
NSW $3.7 billon
VIC $2.3 billion
WA $487 million
QLD $348 million
SA $271 million
TAS/NT $173 million
Taxpayers from NSW spend the most time looking for receipts and supporting documentation at tax time (2.7 hours Vs. national average 2.2 hours).
Taxpayers from NSW have the highest out of pocket cost at tax time as a result of lost receipts ($1501.91 Vs. national average $1083.89).
Taxpayers from NSW are the most likely to find searching for lost receipts and supporting documentation (44% Vs. national average 39%) and finding information on what can be claimed for a rebate/deduction (45% Vs. national average 41%) frustrating when doing their own tax return.
Taxpayers from Queensland have the lowest out of pocket cost at tax time as a result of lost receipts ($453.87 Vs. national average $1083.89).
Taxpayers from Queensland are the least likely to find filling in the forms (33% Vs. national average 37%), finding information on what can be claimed for a rebate/deduction (35% Vs. national average 41%) and not having the time to do it (23% Vs. national average30%) frustrating when doing their own tax return.
Taxpayers from South Australia spend the least amount of time looking for receipts and supporting document at tax time (1.6 hours Vs. national average 2.2 hours).
Taxpayers from Western Australia have lost receipts with the lowest total value ($524.88 Vs. national average $1214.04).
Commonwealth Bank customers wishing to take advantage of NetBank Vault can sign-up viaNetBank Labs. For more information on NetBank Vault and other NetBank product innovations please visit NetBank.