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Questions to ask your accountant at tax time

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Questions for Tax Time

With 30 June just around the corner, it’s time to get organised. There are many ways to try to minimise the amount of tax you must pay and those people in the know are already chatting to their accountants about it. But we get it, it’s tough to know what to ask and where to start.

We’ve compiled our top questions to ask your accountant or financial adviser at tax time. Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, own a small business or a rental property, these are the questions we think you should be asking your accountant or financial adviser sooner rather than later.

 

If you’re an employee, ask about:

  • Super contributions - Making personal super contributions is a great way to build your nest egg and has been used as a tax reduction tool in certain circumstances. It will also give your super a healthy boost! From July 2017, the Government will implement changes impacting super contributions moving forward. To get ahead of the game, ask your accountant or financial adviser about the changes to contribution caps, tax-deductible super contributions, the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset and if you’re heading towards retirement, changes to Transition to Retirement income streams and the Transfer Balance Caps (to name a few).
  • Claiming - Finding out what you can claim as a deduction can lead to a treasure trove of ways to reduce your taxable income. Ask your accountant what qualifies as a deduction for your occupation – you may find things like professional subscriptions, household running costs and mobile phone bills are eligible. For example, if you ever work from home and have a dedicated workspace at your house, you may be able to claim a portion of your household running costs, such as rent, internet and electricity. Similarly, if you drive for work (not including to and from the office), you may be able to claim some of your associated car expenses.
  • Donations - Donations to charitable organisations may be tax deductible if it meets the Australian Taxation Office’s criteria. If there’s an eligible charity you’d like to support, providing a donation prior to 30 June is a fulfilling way to reduce your taxable income.
  • Prepaying expenses - Prepaying things such as annual professional subscriptions and income protection insurance may also be tax deductible, depending on your circumstances.
  • Self-education - The expenses related to taking a postgraduate university degree or professional development course may be tax deductible, if they meet specific criteria. Find out from your accountant whether your course is eligible to be considered for a tax deduction, and whether taking an education course or conference this financial year could benefit your tax bill in your circumstances.

If you own an investment property, ask about:

  • Claimable expenses - If you own an investment property that is available to rent, you can potentially claim deductions on a range of expenses related to the property, its associated management and loans. Ask your accountant on which expenses are claimable for you – just make sure you’ve kept all the receipts!

If you’re self-employed or a small business owner, ask about:

  • Planning for EOFY - As a small business owner or self-employed person, you can start planning for the end of a financial year as soon as each new one begins. As it gets closer to 30 June, ask about deferring invoices (where possible) to the next financial year. Also ask about prepaying business expenses prior to 30 June as this may reduce your taxable income.
  • Business systems - Ask your accountant about how best to set up your business finance tracking systems and how you should look to structure invoicing and expense payments over the year.
  • Claimable expenses - What you may claim depends on your business sector. Ask your accountant for a list and ensure you’ve tracked any relevant expenses for this year. It’ll also be a nice way to set yourself up for the next year to ensure you’re maximising any potential tax deductions ahead of time. To make your tax deduction claims valid, you must always provide the related receipts or invoices. Please check with your accountant regarding any of the above examples if you think they may apply to you.

To make your tax deduction claims valid, you must always provide the related receipts or invoices. Please check with your accountant regarding any of the above examples if you think they may apply to you.

 

  Important Information

The information on this page is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for personal advice. This information has been produced without taking into account your personal financial circumstances, objectives or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information to your financial situation and seek personal advice before acting on any of this information. Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305.

 

Article published June 2017