Tax returns for first time lodgers
At H&R Block, we understand that completing and lodging your tax return can be confusing. Read our guide below for almost everything you might want to know about the tax refund process.
Tax return guide
If you’re lodging a tax return for the first time, you might have a lot of questions. Our guide is designed to answer many of those queries. But if you don’t find what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.
Do I need to lodge a tax return?
Taxpayers who must submit a tax return include:
- most resident individuals whose total assessable income exceeds the $18,200 tax-free threshold for the income year
- a taxpayer who last year paid Pay As You Go Instalment Tax irrespective of income (if they wish to recover the tax)
- every individual carrying on a business or profession regardless of income or loss
- a resident taxpayer earning less than $18,200 who has had tax withheld from that income
- a taxpayer who has been asked to submit a return by the Commissioner. A full tax return is required even if there is no assessable income to report
- a resident minor (under 18 on 30 June) who received income from dividends or distributions greater than $416 and franking credits were attached or tax was withheld.
If you do not lodge a return for a particular year, the ATO may send a request to lodge. It is a good idea to notify them if you are not required to lodge a tax return. You can write to them or telephone on 13 28 61.
When are the deadlines and timing?
The dates for lodgement are as soon as practicable after 30 June and before 31 October (last day for lodgement) each year. Extensions will usually be granted if written notice is forwarded to the Commissioner before 31 October.
Tax agents, like H&R Block, are normally granted extensions of time beyond 31 October for taxpayers who are listed with the ATO as their clients by that date. Contact your nearest H&R Block office on 13 23 25 to ask about your due date for lodgement and to apply for an extension if necessary.
What is the tax refund process?
Check out our summary of the tax refund process to understand the steps required to lodge your return and collect your refund.
What can I claim?
You can only deduct work related expenses under specific circumstances. Make sure you do enough reading to understand what you can and can’t claim. And if you are unsure, you can always ask one of H&R Block’s tax professionals by calling 13 23 25.
If you have spent money on something in order to do your job, such as purchasing uniforms, and paying for travelling or ongoing education expenses, you may be entitled to claim that cost as a tax deduction.
Remember to only claim what you are entitled to. You cannot claim private expenses or things that have been reimbursed by your employer.
What evidence do I need?
If you are claiming more than $300 for work expenses, written evidence must be kept to prove the total claim, not just the amount over $300. Documentary evidence must be kept for 5 years after the later of 31 October in the year the return has been lodged or from the date of lodgement.
The records that you need to keep are receipts, invoices or similar documents, except where a diary is sufficient.
The document must show:
- date of purchase
- item purchased
- date the document was prepared
- name of supplier
- value of item
Required documents may include:
- payment summaries from payers, including Centrelink
- receipts for deductions you are claiming
- copy of your tax return
- statements from your financial institution, for example a 'bank statement' showing what interest you have earned.
Read our tax return checklist for the items you should bring to your appointment.
Please note, this information is a general guide for H&R Block clients. All actual detail and circumstances differ, please discuss your situation with an H&R Block Tax Consultant.
Remember – if you are not sure if you can claim an expense, keep the receipt and we will ensure that we claim all allowable deductions and rebates for you whilst preparing your tax return.
H&R Block can help
We can identify exactly what you need to do to get into shape for the 2016 tax season and maximise your deductions.
- Find your nearest H&R Block office and book an appointment
- Lodge your tax return online with H&R Block
- Download our tax app to help you track your tax deductible expenses and trips