By the end of this week you should have received your payment summary from your work. It's time to get some of that hard earned cash back from the tax man. It's easy to prepare your tax online these days, but are you getting all the deductions you're entitled to? Going to a tax agent will be helpful if going online isn't a good fit for you. Here are some tips on what to take with you to make your visit with your agent that much easier:
- If you've had more than one job this year, wait until you have all the payment summaries from all your employers. Yesterday was the deadline for businesses to have the annual summaries lodged with the tax office. If you haven't received all your summaries, you might have to chase your employer.
- Have you earned interest on savings and interest bearing deposit accounts. You will have to declare this. The tax office now has a matching data facility with all financial institutions. Be aware also that the tax office and Centrelink are good buddies and rely on each other for information. If you have a debt with Centrelink, they will get your refund before you.
- Have you earned dividends from shares or other managed investments? Annual tax statements for the managed investments usually come out early August.
- ABN: if you earned income under your ABN you will need to gross it up and gather all your expenses to write-off against this income. The more expenses you find the less tax you pay.
- Rental property: If you receive income from a rental property, you must declare that rental income, however any expenses in relation to renting that property are deductible against the income. Your real estate agent can provide you with a yearly statement of rent received and expenses paid by them. Ask them for one.
- DEDUCTIONS: these are expenses incurred directly with earning your income. They include the tools of your trade that you buy to do your job.
- Uniforms and protective wear. Uniforms must be compulsory. A deduction of up to $150 for laundry can be claimed. You cannot claim for ordinary clothes and footwear, for example, if you are in an office job. The uniform must be work specific.
- Motor vehicle expenses: Claiming motor vehicle expenses can be a bit tricky. Ideally, keeping a log book of all car travel is recommended. Some people don't know that you can't claim for car expenses incurred in getting to and from work. However, you can claim your motor vehicle expenses from one work place to another. Drive to work and back home: no claim; boss asks you to drive to another job location: yes, you can claim from the office/depot to the work/job site. Claiming for car expenses is a highly emotive claim and it should be understood what you can and can't claim in this area.
- Union fees: if you are a member of a union and pay fees, claim them.
- Self-education expenses: this is an area that is also full of hot coals. The education expenses must be relevant to the job you are doing now, not the new career you are hoping to take on in the future.
- Income protection insurance: This one is often overlooked. If you pay monthly premiums to cover against the loss of your job, you are entitled to a claim.
- Tax agent fee: This is claimable. Make sure you get your deduction.
- Private health insurance: Most health insurance providers have the annual statements online for you to download. You will need this to complete your tax return.
There are many tax agents offering same day refunds. Usually, there are conditions attached to these refunds. Before seeking this option, you might like to consider the following:
- Do you have a debt with any of the government departments including the tax office and Centrelink? If so, you won't get a same day refund. You must be squeaky clean in these areas to get one. Why? Because all or part of your refund will be taken to pay your debt first. The agent has to safe guard against this happening otherwise they will be out of pocket. Be aware tax agents have access to the tax office portal so they are able to check if you have any outstanding debt. Usually, you won't get the full amount of your refund. They have a limit to the amount you can receive and they also take their fee.
If you want some great financial and tax advice. You might like to tap into this resource: https://www.yourwealthcorp.com.au They offer same day refunds, too.
Getting your tax return completed can be a stressful time. Take the stress out of your return this year and seek advice from a tax agent. Any questions? Ask in the comments below.