Tayla Foster

The end of the financial year has commonly been a saving grace for people struggling to save, to pay off a mortgage or tackle crippling debt. It’s that time of the year that accountants are at their busiest, pop up accountants are set up throughout shopping malls and young people are planning their next trip to Bali based on their tax return. People are scrambling to see what they can claim back, receipts are being pulled out of storage from 6 months prior. It’s a time Australian’s look forward too and a time where they might even make a life changing investment. But what happens this end of financial year? With the onset of COVID-19, the unemployment rate has increased 6.2% with young Australians predominantly working in tourism and hospitality. In the midst of this ongoing nightmare, society is yearning for the time of July to scrape in whatever they possibly can to keep their heads above water.

A line out the door

The end of February 2020 saw the close of businesses, corporations, establishments and tourism, with uncertainty as to when it would return. With the uncertainty in place, Australians turned to the one lifeline we were thrown – the introduction of Job Seeker and Job Keeper payments to which 1.3 million people were claiming $1000 a fortnight. Whilst these payments saved families and kept people within their homes, it depressed our once prosperous economic structure into an unofficial recession, paving the way for many changes.

What will change?

This end of financial year, we will see accountant houses, offices and pop up stores flooded with even more people desperately waiting to claim their hard-earned money through the Australian Tax Office who will be tightening the reins on claims and approvals. But rather than take that money from the months of July 2019-February 2020, and use it to book a holiday, go on a shopping spree or buying a new car, Australians will be putting that money back into their savings. This year’s end of financial year tax returns will be our saving grace, but let’s not forget that as well as this year, our 2021 tax returns will be decreased in claims returned due to the lack of employment for the 2-3-month period of 2020.

What has this financial year taught us?

A source shared with the Sydney Observer, “My last 5 tax returns have made up a whole chunk of my savings to fly to Fiji. This year we can’t fly anywhere, and I desperately need this money to keep me going.” Our tax returns are for us to do with as we please but stop and consider the ramifications of a 3-month unemployment scheme and consider this your saving grace.