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Make tax time work for you

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Tax Return 2018

Don't feel overwhelmed with tax time soon approaching. We’re here to help you get prepared for your 2017/2018 tax return with this end of financial year checklist.

1. Consider using an accountant

If you have a complex financial situation or if you’re unsure of Australia’s taxation laws, using a qualified tax accountant may be very helpful. You can of course submit your tax return yourself. If you do choose to lodge your own tax return, you can either do this online or by using a paper form. If you can, it is quicker to do it online through myTax. You’ll get any refund you’re entitled to faster and you can take advantage of the ATO’s prefill function.

Depending on your circumstances, you may also be eligible for the ATO’s Tax Help program, a network of ATO-trained and accredited community volunteers who provide a free and confidential service to help people complete their tax returns online using myTax.

2. Gather all your work-related expense receipts

An important part of completing your tax return is to claim eligible work-related expenses. In general, you can claim a work-related expense where:

  • you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed;
  • the expense was directly related to earning your income; and
  • you have a record to prove it.

If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion. Work expenses reimbursed to you by your employer are not deductible in your personal income tax return.

Take some time to understand which categories of claimable expenses are relevant to you.

3. Consider your Super

If you're a low or middle-income earner and make personal, after-tax, contributions to your super fund, you may be entitled to the government co-contribution (up to a maximum amount of $500).

It may also be worthwhile for you to make super contributions through a salary sacrifice agreement with your employer.

4. Check on your investments

If you held shares in the past financial year, you will need to obtain copies of your dividend statements. If you disposed of any shares in the past financial year you will also need to get a copy of your buy and sell contracts to determine any assessable capital gains or losses.

5. Other Documentation

In addition to receipts for work-related expenses and investment information described above, below is a list of some of the common documents you will need to collect to prepare your tax return (whether you are preparing it yourself or have engaged an accountant):

  • Your tax file number
  • Your payment summary (often referred to as a Group Certificate)
  • Bank statements to determine how much interest you have earned on your bank accounts in the financial year
  • Private health insurance statement
  • Details of child support payments
  • Receipts from donations to charities

6. Keep on top of your tax

It’s a good idea to regularly double check how much tax you should be paying against how much is coming out each pay cycle. Our income tax calculator can give you a good idea. If it seems out of balance at any point during the year, consider having a chat with your employer.

So there you have it! Our top tips for getting prepared early this tax time.

 

  Disclaimer

This article is intended to provide general information only. It has been prepared without considering the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular reader. It must not be relied on as financial product advice. You should seek independent, professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information.

 

Article published June 2018