10 Ways to Maximise Your Tax Refund
Tax time is upon us, so it's important to know how to best maximise your tax refund.
1. What to claim if you work from home
If you can wear ugg boots to work, you probably work from home; either full or part time. If this applies to you, it's worth noting that a portion of your home-running expenses may be claimed as a tax deduction. The expenses that you may be able to claim include the work-related portion of:
- heating, cooling and lighting of the home office room
- decline in value of home office furniture and fittings
- decline in value of office equipment and computers
- computer consumables, stationery, telephone and internet costs
2. Studying to improve your current career path?
If you're up to your eyeballs in textbooks, the good news is you can claim them – along with course fees, accommodation and meals if you study away from home. You can also declare costs of computer consumables and internet as well as depreciation cost of the computer used for studying. Bear in mind these course conditions:
- the course must have a sufficient connection to your current employment
- the course must improve specific skills or knowledge required in your current employment
- the course is likely to result in, an increase in your income from your current employment.
3. Have proof of purchase for everything
We're all familiar with those pesky receipts but these are the very pieces of paper you need to keep if your purchase is work-related (even part-time). As an important aside, purchases made for work up to $300 don't need a receipt.
Even though you may not need a receipt for purchases up to $300 you must have actually spent it in a way that is relevant to your employment - you cannot just claim $300.
4. Adios paper piles
The ATO has joined the digital age and has deemed electronic copies of receipts, legitimate.
5. Claim a deduction for expenses incurred in earning your income
As a general rule, you can claim a deduction for any expense incurred in earning your income. Here are some typical deductions:
- transport from worksite to worksite, or when visiting clients or suppliers
- travel, meals and accommodation up to the amount actually spent. Allowances paid by employers are taxable
- tools and other equipment for work purposes (if used partly for private use, you can only claim the work-related portion).
6. Don't exaggerate
Don't lean towards hyperbole and inflate your deductions. Only claim items you can support with documentation, otherwise, you could land in dire straights with the ATO and face penalties.
7. Don't rely on pre-fill data from the ATO
Even though filling the fields with data from the ATO may seem like a shortcut – it's not. Without fail, you'll be better off using your own info as your source data. Banks may pass information onto the ATO as late as August which leaves your data out-of-date. If the ATO highlights a problem, the onus is on you to correct it. Using a tax accountant like H&R Block to do your tax return can help. Our tax accountants undergo the most rigorous training program in the business, so they know how to get the details right and maximise each and every one of the returns they prepare.
8. Don't forget the basics
The simplest of mistakes can hold up a tax return. To avoid a long wait, make sure you:
- get your details up to date with the ATO - if you lodge using a different address, for example, the ATO won't be able to match it with your tax file number
- get your bank details in order so your funds reach your account
- get your spelling right because one wrong letter can hold up your return
9. Be proactive and get organised
Come tax time, avoid ending up in a never-ending game of 'find the receipt.' Having somewhere allocated where you file your invoices and documents will make your job easier at the end of June.
10. Get help
Tax is complicated. There's no getting around it, so choose the easy road and stress less. Pass on all your info to H&R Block and then put your feet up while we prepare your return.
Not only will we get it done accurately and securely, our expert eye can deduce deductions you didn't even know were possible. In the end, our fees are tax deductible and your return comes with a satisfaction and maximum refund guarantee.
Find your local office and book an appointment online with H&R Block or call 13 23 25.
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