When it comes to getting our tax returns sorted, it’s easy to put it off until the virtual dust piles up and the ATO have you on speed dial. This can be hugely stressful and problematic. While tax can seem like a complex area, this is what we specialise in, making sure we make your tax return process easier and maximising the best possible outcome.
We take the pain out of tax returns to provide a comprehensive and educational tax return service prepared and lodged by professionals. We will work with you to free up your time, reduce stress and cashflow issues and give you peace of mind that your Tax Returns are correct.
Do you need help with your tax return?
Doing your annual tax return is an inevitable problem (or opportunity!) and rather than paying a premium or getting yourself in trouble because you’ve overclaimed or haven’t submitted in time, it’s easier to take some simple steps now to make your business or personal life easier by the end of financial year cut-off..
Our advice on prior preparation to make tax time a breeze
The difference between an excruciating tax return process or ease and efficiency is setting up some automated systems which you use throughout the entire year. That way, it really is as easy as inputting a small amount of information and clicking a few buttons. Our top tips for making tax time easier are outlined in the following sections.
Paying with a card is important because it’s all to easy to lose your receipt if paying for cash. You risk losing the opportunity to claim a tax deduction.
Most retailers using an EFTPOS system can provide a copy of your receipt with details and the date paid. Whereas unfortunately a bank statement might not be enough for a proof of claim. For example if it only lists the name as ‘Coles’, the ATO won’t be able to know specifically what the claim is for.
A further best practice is to upload the receipt into an app or take a photo, but your back up is to pay with a card and keep your bank statement handy in case you need to ask the retailer for a copy of your original receipt, should you ever need it.
Donating to charity is a win-win as it’s feel-good tax deduction, which isn’t something we can always say about the tax process.
While it’s not possible for you to claim a tax deduction for every donation you make, you CAN claim for donations made to not for profits registered for tax deductible gift recipients. Just keep the tax-deductible receipt.
With so many of us using our car for work purposes, attending conferences or buying a meal for an overnight work trip, it’s easy to forget about these incidental purchases come tax time.
That’s why flicking through your calendar to prompt you to look for times you might have spent on a deduction for work is essential.
I don’t know how many times clients have visited us and missed keeping track of their kilometres (mileage). There are some excellent automated and easy tools to help do this with apps and cloud book keeping systems.
If you are working from home, the ATO suggests keeping a diary for a month, which allows you to then set and claim an hourly rate for a home office thereafter.
If you use your car for work or are working from home, it’s vital keep any log books up to date.
If you are claiming a percentage of your motor vehicle expenses, your log book proving business use needs to be less than five years old.
Perhaps you have been meaning to talk to your manager or accountant about salary sacrificing to superannuation, or you are one of the many business owners who are neglecting to pay any super for themselves or to explore the benefits of a self managed super fund.
The ATO also allows you to make personal payments to super and claim the deduction in your tax return. You just need to be mindful not to exceed the contribution caps threshold per financial year. Your super fund also needs to have received the funds before June 30 each financial year and you need to advise them before you lodge a return that you intend to claim a tax deduction in relation to the contribution.
We often decide to buy assets or run a business in our name because it’s easier, but there are many different business structure types with a range of different pros and cons. Having a business in your name alone (sole trader for example) is not always the best solution when it comes to tax, wealth creation or asset protection, particularly for your loved ones.
There can be better options depending on your unique situation, like a family or unit trust, a company or self-managed super fund, rather than sticking with what you know. It’s worth exploring your options with an experienced CMA accounting and business adviser to learn more.
Technology has evolved to make our life so much easier, so embrace it at tax time.
If you are an employee, download the free Australian Tax Office App to upload receipts and keep track of deductions easily.
If you don’t want to download another app, take a photo of your receipts and save them to the cloud, or a Dropbox, so they are all in the one safe place.
If you are a business owner, make sure you are using cloud-based solutions like Xero, Quick Books or MYOB, plus some of the many add-ons such as Shoeboxed or Dext, to keep everything in the one place.
The benefit is they are not just great for tax, they will also give you insights into the performance of your business, so you can make great decisions around growth, cashflow and performance.