4 Last-minute Tips to Help You Prepare for Tax Time
With the official window to lodge your tax return closing on 31 October for many people, if you haven't got yourself 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. Here are some last-minute tips to assist you:
1. 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 back and forth with your accountant, make sure you gather all your documents in one place.
While everyone's situation is unique, as a general rule, here's a list of documents to get you started:
- Copy of last year's tax return
- Records of sales and purchases of any shares, business or property
- Private health insurance details
- Spouse details (if applicable)
- Children's details including date of birth
- List of all income, including Income Statements, rental income, interest and dividends and any foreign income
- List of all expenses, including work-related expenses, donations, self-education expenses and the cost of managing tax affairs
Some of this information (such as Income Statements, Centrelink Payments, Private Health Insurance Details) may be available to be downloaded by yourself or your accountant from the ATO.
Refunds aside, the ATO is cracking down on dodgy deductions so if you plan to claim it, you need to be able to prove it.
2. List all work-related expenses
Whether you're a chef, carpenter or copywriter, every profession has a list of occupation-specific tax deductions. From car expenses and uniforms to mobile phone bills and union fees, chances are there are work-related expenses you can claim. Think about anything 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 publication. If the expense relates directly to your job and your employer did not reimburse you, you may be eligible to claim it.
3. Decide how you'll lodge your tax return
Once you've got all your information gathered, you'll need to consider how you're going to lodge your tax return. If you're looking to lodge your tax return online, you can do so independently using our Online Tax Express Return. To make sure you get the most from your return, we'll prompt you throughout the process with tax tips and advice. Because it's available 24/7, you can lodge your tax return online whenever and wherever it suits you with the knowledge that an H&R Block tax expert will review it.
If your tax return is a little more complicated or you feel you need more input from a tax expert, opt for our Online Tax Adviser service. Just as fast, easy and flexible as our Online Tax Express service with the difference of having our tax experts do all the hard work for you instead. With Online Tax Adviser, all you have to do is upload your details and tax documents and we'll prepare your returns, maximise your refund and lodge it all through our convenient and secure online portal.
4. Seek help from experts
Statistics show 74% of Australians use a tax agent to help them with their tax returns. What may seem like irrelevant information to you may have a tangible impact on your tax return, so it always pays to get expert advice. While you may think taking your return into your own hands will save you money, it could be costing you in unclaimed tax deductions. With a range of packages and prices to suit all walks of tax payers and incomes, expert advice is both convenient and affordable.
How H&R Block can help
The deadline to lodge tax returns is the 31st October for self-lodging individuals and up to the 15th May for those who choose to use an accountant to submit their return. If you don't currently have a tax agent, you need to register with one by 31st October to qualify for the extended deadline.
If life has got in the way and you've fallen behind, the most important step to take is letting either your accountant or the ATO know. Outstanding tax returns can lead to penalties from the ATO so if you find yourself in this situation, talk to us today about how we can help. With over 40 years as Australia's leading tax experts, your return will be looked after by a tax expert who will accurately secure all the offsets and deductions you're entitled to.
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