It’s Tax Time and once you’ve gathered together all your income information, receipts and bank statements, your thoughts will turn to how to lodge your tax return. If this is your first time lodging a return – perhaps because you’ve just entered the workforce, after school or uni maybe, or you’re a new arrival in Australia - the process could be particularly stressful. So what are your options?

Use an accountant

About 74% of people who lodge a tax return choose to do so through an accountant or tax agent and it’s not difficult to understand why. Tax is a complex business and many people prefer to leave it to the experts to get the best possible refund when Tax Time comes. After all, do you understand all the deductions that you’re entitled to claim? You might have been claiming for the same items for years but the chances are there are less well-known deductions you many know nothing about. Accountants are good at spotting those opportunities. You can also rely on your accountant to complete the return accurately and fast. And best of all, the fee your accountant charges you is itself tax deductible.

Make sure your accountant is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (you can check here to see if your accountant is above-board). Your most convenient option might be to have a chat to your local H&R Block office – we have over 470 offices nationwide, so the chances are there will be one near you.

Lodge yourself

The other 26% of lodgers choose the “do-it-yourself” option using the ATO’s own lodgement software. Until recently, the ATO had two different systems for lodging your tax return yourself; myTax, their online, internet based system for simple tax returns and e-tax, a downloadable software program for more complex returns. e-tax has been retired this year – it was an old and clunky system – so all self-lodgers will this year need to lodge through myTax. For those who have been using e-tax for many years, that means learning how to use a whole new program, although the ATO has promised that the new, expanded myTax will be easier to use than its older sibling.

The ATO will be monitors how you complete your tax return even as you fill it in. If myTax believes that you are, for instance, claiming an excessive amount for a deduction, a warning message will appear. In extreme circumstances, you could be warned you’ll be audited if you continue to make that claim!

To use myTax, you first of all need to register with the government’s online portal, myGov. You can also lodge through myTax using your phone or tablet.

Deadlines

If you’re a self-lodger, you must lodge your return by 31 October 2017.

If you use an agent, you can lodge later, possibly as late as 15 May 2018. To take advantage of those extended deadlines, you need to be registered as a client of the agent by 31 October 2017.

Once you’ve lodged your return, typically allow up to 2 weeks for the ATO to process and pay your refund. They don’t send cheques anymore; you’ll need to nominate a bank account when you lodge your return and you’ll get your refund paid in by EFT in due course.

 


 

Book an appointment

Let us lodge your tax return for you. Our tax accountants have the knowledge to walk you through the tax refund process with ease. We are committed to offering expert and personal service year-round at a location convenient to you.

Book now

Book an appointment

Let us lodge your tax return for you. Our tax accountants have the knowledge to walk you through the tax refund process with ease. We are committed to offering expert and personal service year-round at a location convenient to you.

Book now