Ten practical tax-time tips

Tax time can be taxing on your time. While you may look forward to a big refund, you probably don’t relish the hours it takes to prepare your taxes. These simple tips can help you navigate tax time more efficiently and ensure you claim everything you’re legally entitled to.

1. Decide who will help you. If your tax affairs are complicated, good advice is invaluable. A registered agent can take care of the technicalities and provide you with extended tax lodgement due dates.

2. Every dollar you claim puts money back in your pocket. Look through your bank statements, receipts and credit cards to find any transactions that may be tax deductible.

3. Donations can be tax deductible. Have you been donating to your colleagues causes? Check your emails to identify any donations you may have forgotten.

4. Deductions for motor vehicle expenses can be claimed too. If you used your car for travel between different workplaces or attending conferences, you may be able to get some money back. Accru’s Tax Guide App is designed to help track work-related motor vehicle use for this purpose.

5. Working from home has perks in terms of potential deductions for costs like heating, lighting and cleaning, telephone, internet and stationery, computers and office furniture. Just beware of the Capital Gains Tax implications.

6. Proving your spending is essential. Shoe boxes still work wonders, but smartphone technology can save you time by enabling you to take photos of receipts and store everything digitally.

7. Be accurate. The ATO’s data matching technology compares your claims electronically with banks and other government agencies. Incorrect claims can be costly.

8. If you’re a business or investor, franking credits and depreciation on capital items can save you thousands. Dividends from shares usually come with tax credits which is great news for retirees. Investors can also obtain a quantity surveyor’s report, the cost of a report is likely to be more than offset by the depreciation and capital allowance deductions it generates, which means more money in your pocket.

9. If you’re expecting a tax refund, why wait? The extra cash is better working for you than sitting with the ATO waiting for you to lodge your tax return.

10. Superannuation can be super special. Superannuation not only secures your lifestyle during retirement, your salary sacrificed contributions can also be tax deductible. Once in your fund, these contributions are taxed at 15%.

Many Australian small businesses rely on a Tax or BAS Agent to help manage their tax and superannuation affairs. This provides benefits such as:

  • Consumer protection through professional indemnity insurance
  • Extended tax and BAS lodgement due dates
  • Assurance that their tax affairs are correctly prepared by experienced and qualified agents who comply with a professional code of conduct.

Remember that Tax or BAS agents need to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and only those registered are legally able to charge a fee for providing tax and BAS services. If you use a bookkeeper to prepare your BAS, they must also be registered with the TPB unless they are your employee or work for a registered agent.

Accru specialises in tax compliance for small to mid-sized businesses and high-net-worth individuals.  Find out more about our tax services here or get in touch if you would like our assistance.

About the Author
Steven Zabeti , Accru Felsers Sydney
Steven specialises in external auditing, due diligence, initial public offerings, stock exchange listings and financial reporting. He has close links with the Chinese and German business communities and assists many overseas organisations with accounting, taxation and auditing when they expand into Australia. His clients include public companies, foreign subsidiaries, universities and schools, financial services licensees and not-for-profit organisations.
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