WORK THE TIMING
If you’re expecting a tax return, get your return in as quickly as you can to receive the money earlier.
If you’re expecting to make a payment, hold off your return until close to the deadline. For most of us, that is 15th May in the following year (unless you lodge it yourself in which case it’s 31st October in the current year).
Check ATO lodgment dates for individuals, if you’re not sure.
Tax time is never actually fun but these tips will help to make it as painless as possible.
Get it together
Grab some table-top real estate and make piles of paperwork for:
- Payment summaries – detailing income from employers (one for each job), super funds, or Centrelink.
- Bank statements – showing how much interest you received. Most banks provide annual summaries.
- Share, unit trusts or managed funds statements – showing investments bought or sold, dividends or distributions.
- Rental property records – including any capital gains or losses from the sale of a property.
- Foreign income details – including foreign pensions or other foreign income received.
Remember, you may have to prove your claims with written evidence so keep receipts for everything.
- Have a look at Maximise your deductions at tax time, for details about deductions you may be entitled to claim.
- Private health insurance policy statement.
- Net medical statements and receipts – if you have received offsets in prior years, you can continue to claim net medical expenses in the 2015 tax year.
- Charitable donation receipts.
- Educational receipts.
- Investment property receipts – including the costs of repairs and maintenance to your investment property.
- Your spouse’s income and expenses – you will also need details of their income and expenses to make sure your entitlements are correctly calculated.
Lodging your return – do it yourself?
The ATO provides two options for lodging online, but if you choose to lodge yourself, the lodgment deadline is 31st October.
MyTax – a streamlined tax return designed for people with straightforward tax affairs. It’s available for tablets, smart phones as well as computers.
E-tax – for people whose tax affairs are a bit more complex. E-Tax has built-in checks and calculators. It’s available for PCs and Macs.
Lodging your return – getting help
If you use a registered tax agent, you have longer to lodge (see ‘WORK THE TIMING’) and their fee is tax deductible (in the following tax year).
If you are thinking of using a tax agent, check to see they are registered on the Government’s Tax Practitioners Board Register.
What are your thoughts?
Looking forward to tax time? Is there anything else you’d like to know about managing tax?
Join the conversation — leave a comment below and let us know what you’re thoughts are.
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