It pays to be as ready as you can for your tax appointment. Although your tax agent will ask key questions to help you maximize your tax return, and let’s face it this is more important this year than any other year, the more ready you are the more you’re likely to claim. Our five minute tax appointment analysis will help guide you through what you’ll need to maximize your tax return.
Using a tax agent to prepare and lodge your tax return can be a great help and save you time and stress. A good tax agent knows all the latest tax and deductions inside out so they can maximize your refund. They’ll also help you forward plan so help reduce your next years’ tax return. Your tax agent will ensure you don’t miss out on any deductions or payments you’re entitled to. Getting expert help from a tax agent gives you peace of mind that what you declare is right.
Pro Tax Tip: Your tax agent’s fees are 100% tax deductible on your next year’s tax return, as are all fees related to organizing your tax affairs.
It pays to be organized for your tax appointment
It’s always a good idea to be prepared when meeting with your tax agent. Having the right paperwork can help make your appointment go smoothly. If this is your first time working with a particular preparer bring last year’s tax return if possible. This gives them background on your personal details, income sources, deductions claimed, and bank account information.
If you run your own business signing up for online accounting software can help ease the strain at the end of financial year and tax preparation. Make sure when you use accounting programs that you’ve used the right categories so when you print off your report, all the data is correct.
What information is pre filled from the Australian Taxation Office
Your tax agent will be able to access some of your financial information with your tax file number (TFN) through their tax agent’s portal with the Australian taxation office (ATO), which they’ll need to help you lodge.
Pro Tax Tip: Apart from your employer, government agencies and your tax agent, keep your tax file number to yourself.
Your tax agent will be able to access your wages or salary, PAYG summaries, personal service income and lump sum termination payments should you have any. They’ll also see bank interest, distributions from trusts, partnership and manager super funds, your superannuation payments, dividends and capital gains.
Allowances from cars and vehicles, travel, pensions and other allowances such as entertainment etc can be seen. Foreign income, net income, losses from businesses and rental income are available through the portal.
Where does the information come from?
At times, the ATO gathers personal information from various sources to ensure the accuracy of the data they receive and to help identify mistakes made in tax returns. While some of this information is obtained directly from you, the ATO is also permitted by law to acquire personal data about you from external parties and entities. This information comes from:
1. Employers: Employers and other payers operating under the Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding system are required to report payments they make, which includes personal information related to payments made to contractors and suppliers without an Australian business number (ABN). Information is uploaded to the ATO using Single Touch Payroll linked to their accounting systems each pay period. This means you’ll be able to see your PAYG and superannuation in real time.
2. Banks, Financial Institutions, and Share Registries: Financial institutions are obligated to provide information concerning their customers’ investments and investment income.
3. Super Funds: The ATO gathers data from employers, super funds, and intermediaries to handle matters related to superannuation.
4. Treaty Partners: Similar to how the ATO share information with treaty partners overseas, authorities in other countries also exchange information with them under international tax agreements.
5. Government Agencies and Statutory Authorities: Government agencies, such as Services Australia, and state and territory revenue offices, furnish the ATO with personal information necessary for the administration of taxation laws. This data helps to accurately determine income tax obligations and entitlements. In specific cases, the law permits the disclosure of personal information for purposes beyond taxation law administration.
6. Taxation Forms: The ATO not only collects personal information from individual tax returns but also gathers data about individuals associated with partnerships, trusts, and companies when these organizations file returns. In most instances, the individuals involved are aware of providing personal information.
7. Data-Matching Programs: In the ATO’s commitment to transparency and compliance with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Data-matching in Commonwealth administration guidelines, they announce our intent to conduct data-matching programs in the Commonwealth Notices Gazette before commencing such initiatives.
Expenses you’ll need for your tax return appointment
Although your tax agent will be able to see most of your income, they won’t know your claims. This is where you need to be very prepared. If you forget to declare some expenses, you’ll miss out on reducing your total taxable income.
Pro Tax Tip: Your tax return can be amended, but it’s best to get it right the first time. Amending a tax return will result in delays.
Here are the key expense records your accountant will need to prepare your taxes:
Travel: Expenses for work-related transportation like a vehicle logbook domestic and international flights/accommodation, and other travel costs.
Office: Expenses like rent/lease, utilities, phone, computer equipment, software and repairs, and other items used for business operations.
Insurances: Insurances for income protection, public liability, and other necessary business insurances.
Financial: Bank fees, interest payments, dividends distributed.
Assets: Records of equipment, tools, or other assets purchased or sold during the year.
Deductions: Donations, home office expenses allocated for business use, freelancer expenses, and other deductible costs.
Having clear records of all money leaving your business will help the accountant accurately prepare your tax return and identify areas for potential deductions or savings.
Common Tax Deductions
There are common tax deductions that can be claimed by many people in different jobs and occupations. These include:
Work-related travel expenses: This includes transportation costs, petrol, public transport or rideshare fees for trips between work locations. Parking and tolls can also be claimed.
Uniform and protective clothing costs: If you are required to wear a uniform, specific clothing like steel-capped boots, personal protective equipment for work, may be eligible.
Self-education expenses: If study relates directly to your job, such as courses, textbooks and materials, you can claim these. Conferences and seminars are also often deductible.
Home office expenses: If you have a dedicated work area in your home, you can claim a portion of related expenses like gas, electricity, phone, internet, office supplies, computer and desk chairs.
Tools and equipment costs: The cost of any tools, equipment machinery or assets you need to do your job that aren’t reimbursed by your employer.
Mobile phone and internet expenses: If you need your own device and service for work, you can claim a portion of the costs. Keep records of work-related usage.
Car and expenses: Costs associated with using your own car for work related travel like petrol, parking and tolls. Keep a logbook if you want to claim the maximum car expenses.
Subscriptions professional memberships: Relevant memberships and publications may be deductible.
Donations: Work-related charitable donations and gifts may qualify for deductions.
Pro Tax Tip: Don’t forget to ask your tax accountant what tax incentives you may be entitled to receive for yourself or your business.
Are your ready for your tax appointment?
At ITP, we understand that preparing for your tax appointment can sometimes feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve made it easier than ever for you to get organized. We offer a convenient tax checklist that you can download directly from our website. This checklist is designed to help you gather all the necessary documents and information needed for your tax appointment. By using our checklist, you can ensure that your appointment runs smoothly, and you’ll be well-prepared to discuss your tax matters with our experts. It’s just one of the ways we strive to make your tax experience as hassle-free and efficient as possible.
ITP Accounting Professionals have been helping people maximize their tax returns for over 50 years! Phone 1800 367 487 and chat with a friendly professional today.