Getting Ready for Tax Time

It’s everybody’s favourite time of year again!

If you  haven’t got your tax affairs organised, now is the time to spring into action. With 84% of taxpayers expecting a refund, it pays to get your paperwork in order and properly prepare for getting your tax return done. So what are you waiting for?

Get started on some of these tax tips and make a difference to your tax refund now!

Gather all your documents in one place

The more organised you are, the less stressful the process will be and the more likely you are to maximise your deductions. Without accurate records and receipts, you won’t be able to make the most of your expenses. To avoid the back and forth with your accountant, make sure you gather all your documents in one place and provide them to your account in the easiest way possible. Tools like Dropbox or a shared Google folder work really well for this task. Your accountant can generally access your Income Statements and Centrelink through the ATO portal, but you need to be prepared with all your other paperwork. Documents you may need include things like – receipts for work related expenses; a log book if you use a motor vehicle for work purposes; details of any superannuation contributions you have made and have declared as concessional so you can claim a tax deduction; donation receipts. Depending on how complex your financial affairs will depend on how many documents you have to organise – there is no one size fits all approach here.

Whether you’re a teacher, a tradie or a nurse, every profession has a list of occupation-specific potential tax deductions. If you have motor vehicle expenses and uniforms, have a mobile phone and pay union fees, the chances are that these are work-related expenses and you can more than likely claim a deduction for them. Think about everything you have purchased that relates to your job or helps you do a better job. It could be equipment you use on the job or a subscription to an industry journal. If the expense relates directly to your job and your employer did not reimburse you, you may be eligible to claim a tax deduction for it.

Making a list for your accountant and summarising the expenses you believe are work related will go a long way in making having your tax return prepared run smoothly. It is likely if you turn up to your accountant with a shoe box full of receipts, the costs to prepare you tax return will be significantly higher. That’s why it is important to be organised and provide a summary. The accountant may want to see a particular receipt so you will still need to provide them but having a list as a starting point is a huge help. Your accountant can review the list and ask you a series of targeted questions to help you get the best possible refund.

Get your investment property records up to scratch

If you have an investment property, now might be the time to get on top of any improvements that your property agent has been recommending. You may be able to deduct these as maintenance costs but your accountant will advise you on the correct approach here. Just as with your personal work-related expenses, make sure you have organised your expenses in a way that will help your accountant gather the information necessary. Summarise the rates, utility and insurance costs if you pay these throughout the year, provide a loan statement showing the amount of interest you have paid on your investment property loan. If your financial institution allows it, you may even want to prepay up to 12 months interest on the loan to get a bigger deduction this year, especially if income this year is likely to be more than next year.

Seek help from the experts!

Statistics show that 74% of Australian use a tax accountant or tax agent to help them with their tax return preparation. What may seem like irrelevant information to you may have a meaningful impact on your tax return, so it always pays to get expert advice. While you may thing that doing your tax return yourself will save you money, it could be costing you in unclaimed allowable tax deductions. Remember the amount you pay to have your tax return prepared is tax deductible to you in the following year.

We can help you with competitive rates to suit all walks of taxpayers and incomes. Expert advice is both convenient and affordable so contact us now.

This article is for general information purposes only and has not been prepared with reference to the circumstances of any particular person.

You should seek your own independent financial, legal and taxation advice before making any decision in relation to the material in this article.