Student loan holders hit by tax return delays

Australians with government student loans are experiencing "longer than usual" waits to have their tax returns processed for the 2009-10 financial year, it has been revealed.

A spokesperson from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) told iTnews that delays were occurring for tax returns involving Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) or Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) debt.

The spokesperson also refuted speculation that the delays were due to system interface issues between the ATO and Centrelink.

"Given the size of the technology and the scale of the changes, we always keep a close watch on how systems are operating," he said.

"We ensure that tax agents are kept as informed as possible about any delays. These returns will commence processing tomorrow and it is expected that EFT refunds will start being paid by the end of the next week."

As iTnews observed, the delays for students come after Australian taxpayers also faced an additional two days’ wait for their 2009-10 tax returns due to newly implemented fraud detection technology.

The news may interest Aussies looking to compare student finances in search of the best options. The spokeperson said that despite the overhaul, the ATO still aims to process electronic returns within 14 days and paper returns within 42 days.

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