There are some dates you always remember: Birthdays, public holidays, and when the in-laws are coming to visit. However, there are some that escape many Australians — including the end of the financial year. This ticks over at the beginning of the month, meaning it's time for many people to file their returns and hopefully end up with some extra cash in their savings account.
It's a time when you can also capitalise on a great deal of deductions, depending on your situation. To make sure you're prepared next time around, and to start this new financial year on the right foot, here are eight tips to keep in mind.
1) You can always do it online
Doing your taxes doesn't have to be a strenuous or time consuming task. With services like the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) myTax system, accessible from a number of mobile devices, you can get yourself up to speed and up to scratch with a swipe of the finger of the touch of a button.
2) Don't skimp on the details
Whenever you're dealing with your taxes, make a list and check it twice. Perhaps even three or 30 times. The ATO deals with more than 350,000 tax returns each year that have errors, from misspelled names to incorrect income details — some people even do their return more than once. These all put a hold on the system and your clean bill of tax health.
3) Work out your work costs
There are many tax breaks available to Australians, giving you more cash in hand when all is said and done. Work-related expenses like petrol, dry-cleaning and even SMSF contributions can be deductible, as can the upkeep of a home office. As long as the costs were for work purposes rather than private gain, you should be able to claim it. However...
4) Leave a paper trail
You can't make deduction claims without the right paperwork. This includes proof of travel costs like receipts, and any paperwork that had to be filled out for insurance, registration, applications for any work-related programmes and the like. Keep these organised and safe for a smooth taxation process.
5) Claim the big things
On top of claiming expenses from your job, any rental properties you own can be an excellent source of deductions, which is great news for those making home loan repayments. Maintenance of this real estate costs time and money — funds you can claim back. Lawnmower petrol, water charges, agent fees and the like all come under this umbrella — research what you could claim! And as always, keep tidy records.
6) Get back in business
Any self-employed Australians or small business owners will have relished the announcements in the federal budget regarding taxation, with the company tax going down for businesses that have less than $2 million in annual turnover. If you've been considering starting up your own company, make sure you understand the benefits available.
7) Check your gear
Another one for business owners — and what a boost it is! The budget also now allows for equipment purchases up to $20,000 to be eligible for deduction. Previously, the threshold was only $1,000. This means equipment, furniture, software and the like that is bought for your company can see you make significant savings at tax time.
As a recent development, this is one that many can look forward to for next year. Don't throw those receipts out!
8) Don't be late
Now that the financial year has ended and been reborn, it's time to start planning all of your potential deductions and paperwork. You have until October 31 to get this organised — whether you use a tax agent or do it yourself, make sure you do it right. Nobody wants to get caught up in red tape, and there are now so many financial windfalls you can receive that you'd be crazy not to be organised!