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Will I Get a Bigger Tax Refund in 2020?

4 min read

2020 has been a difficult year for many Australians, with significant job losses and changes in working conditions impacting people across the country. It’s understandable many people are hoping for a bit of relief and wondering if this might come in the form of a bigger tax refund this year.

How do tax refunds work in Australia?

Around 14 million people lodge a tax return each year in Australia and of those who receive a refund (about two-thirds) on average they receive just over $4,000 each, resulting in a collective refund of more than $3 billion. So it definitely pays to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximise your refund. 

You need to lodge your tax return by the 31st October (or you may be eligible for an extension beyond this date if you are registered with a tax accountant by 31st October). The return will take approximately two weeks to process – your agent can track the progress of your return for you.

COVID-19 will not change these dates or the standard procedure for lodging your tax return. This year, you may receive a larger tax refund this due to the Low and Middle Income Tax offset, available to many tax payers.

Will I get the $1080 tax offset and how does it work?

Last year, the Australian government introduced a new tax offset to boost the incomes of low and middle income Australians. The offset is still around this year, meaning that millions of eligible taxpayers across the country will receive between $255 and $1080 as an offset against their taxable income this year. For many, that will flow through into a larger tax refund than they were expecting.

The offset amount depends on how much you earn (you need to earn less than $126k to qualify) and you don’t have to do anything to receive it – it will automatically be calculated as part of your tax return, so the sooner you get it done, the better.

How else can I maximise my tax refund this year? 

The best thing you can do to get the maximum refund from your tax return this year is to work with an experienced accountant to ensure you are claiming every possible legitimate deduction for your job and industry. Different jobs are eligible for different types of deductions, and anyone who has been working from home due to office closures is allowed to claim a range of additional expenses, so it really pays to get expert advice to make sure you get the largest possible refund. 

Some working from home deductions you might be eligible to claim include:

  • Heating, cooling, lighting and cleaning of the home office area you are working in
  • Phone and internet services
  • Consumables such as printer ink, stationary or paper
  • Home equipment such as a printer, chair, desk, screen or computer – for these items, you can either claim the full cost (up to $300) or the decline in value (items over $300)

These are just a few examples of deductions you might be eligible to claim this year. To find out more visit our page on tax deductions for working from home during COVID-19.

GET EXPERT ADVICE 

Everyone wants to get the best refund possible – but it’s extremely important that you stay within the rules. You must only claim legitimate expenses to avoid getting into trouble with the ATO and running the risk of fine and possible even more severe penalties.

 If you have any questions at all about your tax return or need help getting it done, you should talk to H&R Block. Our experienced tax consultants will be able to help. Call 13 23 25 for details or find your nearest office and book an appointment online.

 

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