Maximise your tax return with minimum fuss
Tax time is nearly here! Take the hassle out of tax time by taking the time to get yourself organised now. Know what information you’ll need to have handy to make the process as easy as possible – and hopefully maximise the amount of cash that goes back into your pocket!
Do you need to lodge a tax return?
Even if you’re currently unemployed, a student, on government benefits or earning a low income, you may need to lodge a tax return.
- To help you determine if you do, use this online tool from the Australian Tax Office.
When do you need to lodge your tax return?
- If you’re lodging your own tax return, whether it’s online or using a paper form, you have until 31 October 2016 to lodge it.
- If you decide to use a registered tax agent, you can lodge later – but bear in mind you will need to have contacted the tax agent before 31 October to qualify.
Get yourself ready!
Don’t wait until it’s time to lodge your return – start getting your bits and pieces together now.
- If you’re completing your tax return online and can wait until August, the ATO automatically pre-fill your return with some of the information you’ll need – such as from banks, super funds and Centrelink.
- Remember to check that this pre-filled information is accurate.
What you’ll need
- After 1 July, you’ll receive payment summaries which outline the income you have received from your employer, super funds or payments from government agencies like Centrelink or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- You’ll also need your bank statements which will show any interest you have earned during the period.
- If you have a spouse, you’ll also need details of their income, to make sure your entitlements are correctly calculated.
- Know what expenses you can claim, so that you can be sure to maximise your rebates and your tax return.
- If you’re not sure what deductions might relate to your job or industry, use this handy ATO guide to deductions for specific industries and occupations.
- Deductions you might be able to claim could include gifts and donations, car and travel expenses between work and home, clothing and laundry expenses if you wear a uniform, tools and equipment, home office expenses, or if you’re a student, self-education expenses.
- You can also make next year’s tax return even easier by using the ATO’s MyDeductions app to record and track all of your future deductions.
- And if you’ve got any upcoming deductible expenses, then pay them before June 30, so that you’ll be able to claim for them in your upcoming tax return.
- If you’ve got private health insurance, you’ll need the annual policy statement that your insurer will send you after 30 June.
- Got a spouse? You’ll also need details of their expenses, to make sure your entitlements are correctly calculated.
Take the time to track down and organise all of your relevant receipts now, and make tax time a breeze!
The ATO’s online tools make doing your own tax return pretty easy and straightforward.
- You can lodge your tax return online using myTax – it’s quick, easy, safe and secure. Visit the ATO website to find out how.
- To lodge your tax return online, you will need to create a myGov accountand then link it to the ATO.
- If you’d like to try doing your own tax return but need a little help, check if you qualify for the ATO’s TaxHelp program. This free and confidential service is staffed by ATO accredited community volunteers, and is available to people who have earned less than $50,000 and satisfy some qualifying criteria.
Want a professional to help?
- If you’re not confident completing your own tax return, you can hire an accountant to do your tax return for you, provided they are a registered tax agent.
- The fees you pay your tax agent are deductible, so keep your payment records safe and remember to claim these costs on your next tax return.