The end of the financial year means doing your tax return and for many this can cause unnecessary stress. Being organised, using an accountant and keeping good records throughout the year can all help ease the tax burden. For a business having good professional help and making sure that the systems you use at work during the year are effective for you, can make tax time easier and help you find the most deductions. Use the right programs at work and ensure that staff have adequate MYOB training to keep your tax records in order. If you are organised through the year it will save a lot of time at the end of June.
Make sure you keep receipts of all work related expenses. These can include travel, food, accommodation, stationary, office furniture and also income protection insurance. Any education that you undertake for the benefit of your job can also be included in your deductions. Any books you buy on related topics, training courses and educational software can all be included. Your travel expenses can be claimed as well as the costs to do with your car, including petrol, mileage, repairs, insurance and registration. Gifts and donations are tax deductible and by making a sizeable donation you can put yourself into a lower tax bracket, as well as helping your favourite charity. You can claim the depreciation on your assets too, for example on your car and your laptop. You can avoid capital gains tax by claiming any losses you made in investments and save on the Medicare Levy by having private health insurance.
There are specific deductions relating to different occupations. The ATO has a guide of 20 different occupations and what they consider as possible deductions. For example, tradesmen can save a lot as they can claim on tools, equipment and vehicle expenses, as well as the depreciation on their equipment.
Receiving your refund
A good way to receive your refund is via direct deposit. This way you get it faster as a cheque will take 3 days to clear, and the money is much better off in your account earning interest then sitting with the ATO.
Depending on your employer and your tax bracket you can receive a salary package and gain significant tax advantages. A salary package could include your car, superannuation, your laptop, mobile phone and even gym membership.
Check your superannuation
Make sure the amount of super you have within your fund matches up with your payslips as it is estimated that there is $10 billion floating around in unclaimed super. Also make sure you have consolidated all your super into the one fund, which if you have changed jobs may be the case.
Avoid late fees
Pay your tax on time and make sure you avoid any late fees. There are penalties for late payment and interest charges. The sooner you do your tax return the sooner you will have your return back.
Good record keeping
Keep neat records, file all receipts and even create a folder specifically for your tax information. Separate your income and outgoing expenses, have a spot for payslips and group certificates, receipts and any other business or related material.
Once your medical expenses cost over $1,500 within the year you can claim 20%. There is no upper limit to this amount.