With this financial year coming to an end on 30 June it is wise to plan ahead for tax season. These tips will help make sure that you are prepared.

Know what you can claim.

You can claim work related expenses such as uniforms, telephone bills, equipment, and travel expenses that you paid for out of your pocket. Receipts are required if your expenses exceed $300. These expenses can be difficult to calculate so the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website offers uniform, motor vehicle and travel expense calculators to assist you.

Know what you have to declare.

You have to file all of your income, the most common are; declaring any interest received, salaries and wages, government allowances, superannuation payment, and any foreign income. Foreign income can include foreign income investments, dividends, rental properties, pensions, and business transactions. However, you may be entitled to a foreign income tax offset.

Save the documents that you will need at tax time.

Whether you prefer to use the latest digital apps such as Receipt Bank, an organised filing system, or a shoe box, collect your receipts and financial statements throughout the year and save them. You are required to save these documents for 5 years after you file them.

Pay attention to deadlines.

If you prepare your own tax return, you should be aware that the deadline is 31 October. Using a registered tax agent can help ensure that you stay organised and on time with the appropriate deadlines. Plus they receive lodgment extensions that can come in handy if you owe any more to the ATO.

You can file electronically with e-tax.

E-tax is the ATO’s free and secure service you can use to prepare and lodge your individual tax return online. With e-tax, most refunds are issued within 12 business days. The program can be downloaded from the ATO website. They offer a pre-fill option to speed up the process, make things easier, and remind you of incomes and deductions to file, but you still need to check over the automatic entries as not everything is prefilled for you.

You may be eligible for tax help.

Tax Help is a network of volunteers that provides a free service that help low income earners at tax time. The service is available at community centers across the country from 1 July to 31 October.

Check for simple mistakes.

Simple mistakes can hold up your refund. Make sure that all of your personal information is accurate. Remember to review the spelling of your name, your date of birth, and gender so that your claim will proceed without requiring multiple corrections that will slow down your refund. It’s better to double-check or even to triple-check your forms than to complain if you realise later that you missed a small detail.

Finally, look out for scams.

There are plenty of scams out there. Some send emails claiming to be the ATO. They may ask for personal details or even offer money. However, only provide your tax file number to an authorized person or organisation like a bank or employer after you have been hired. You do not need this information on the application.

These simple tips will keep you organised and on time during tax season. Hiring the right personal tax return firm can make a big difference. Our team has the tools to help maximise your savings at tax time for a more favourable outcome.

 

Author

Michael is qualified public practice accountant who loves working with business owners and new technologies. Having being involved with his own multimillion $ start-ups, been CFO for others, he now helps others with their financial and tax goals.

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