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Aussies could be missing out on $7.3 billion in tax rebates

Media release

CommBank can

Media release

Aussies could be missing out on $7.3 billion in tax rebates

06 August 2012: According to a new study released today 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 billion1 nationwide. This loss may be down to the one in two (51 per cent) 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 per cent);
  • closely followed by fuel (24 per cent) and parking (24 per cent); and
  • other receipts Australians are most likely to lose include tolls (15 per cent), travel (14 per cent) and internet usage (11 per cent).

Interestingly, the study shows big differences in the value Australian taxpayers think they are missing – between genders, age groups and locations2:

  • 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.”

Paper frustrations

With more than one in five (23 per cent) 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 per cent) and to get a bigger tax return (31 per cent).

Commonwealth Bank customers wishing to take advantage of NetBank Vault can sign-up via NetBank Labs. For more information on NetBank Vault and other NetBank product innovations please visit NetBank



For more information please contact:

Kate Dudman
Commonwealth Bank
(02) 9118 7370

For further media information, please visit the latest NetBank interactive media release.


Notes to editors about the research

  • The study was conducted amongst 1,055 Australians aged 18 years and over.
  • Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital and non-capital city areas
  • Fieldwork commenced on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 and was completed on Friday, 13 July 2012
  • After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

1All monetary figures have been calculating using weighted data and the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

2All monetary figures have been calculating using weighted data and the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Media contact:

Kate Dudman
Commonwealth Bank
(02) 9118 7370