Grab a calendar and use our 12-month checklist to stay organised, make tax time less stressful and even pocket some handy savings.
12 months out
Make a habit of storing receipts
There’s a whole range of expenses you may be able to claim on tax, but the golden rule is to keep receipts for work-related deductions totalling more than $300.
The trouble is, those little pieces of paper can easily get lost. So this year, try investing in a few folders. Label each folder for different work expenses and make a habit of filing receipts regularly.
Being organised throughout the year could even be a money-saver. Rather than paying your tax adviser to sift through a shoebox of receipts, they can head straight to your folders at tax time and check what you are entitled to claim, cutting the cost of preparing your tax return.
6 months out
Take a look at the free tax app
If you’re always on the go, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a free ATO app featuring a myDeductions tool. It can help you keep your tax organised even when you’re out and about. The app costs nothing, and it lets you snap, save and store records of your individual income tax deductions in one place – so it’s worth a look.
Hook up with a tax professional
Most Australians use a tax agent for help with their tax return, and if you’re keen to get professional support with your tax, don’t wait until the rush of 30 June to find a tax agent you’re comfortable with. Yes, you’ll pay for expert tax advice but the cost is usually tax deductible, which can make the expense more manageable.
3 months out
Keep a car logbook
The cost of driving your car to work can’t normally be claimed on tax. But if you travel as part of your role, or you drive between multiple jobs, you may be able to claim some of your car mileage on tax.
Your tax adviser can explain how this applies to you, however you may need to keep a car logbook for 12 weeks.
2 months out
Plan to claim the cost of phone bills on tax
Good news. If you use your phone or home internet for work you may be able to claim a tax break for part of the cost though you will need records to support your claim.
To work out the percentage of phone/internet costs that relate to work you’ll need to keep records for a 4-week representative period each financial year.
One month out
Consider upgrading any work-related equipment
If any of your work-related equipment needs replacing or upgrading, now may be the time to do it. Always check with your tax professional if an item is tax deductible but as an example, if you work outdoors, the cost of sun protective clothing may be tax deductible.
Start to crunch some numbers
If you’ve earned some extra cash with a second job, you could face a tax bill rather than a refund at the end of the financial year. If necessary, set a date to meet with your tax adviser to know how you stand tax-wise in case you need to set aside cash for a possible tax bill.
One week out
Set up an account for myTax
If you’re happy to complete your own tax return, the Tax Office offers a free online lodgement system called myTax. It is accessed through the myGov portal so if you don’t already have a myGov account, now’s the time to set one up.
If you earn below $60,000 and your tax affairs are straightforward, free support with your tax return is available through the Tax Office’s Tax Help service. The service runs from July to October, so if you’re eligible, make a note to give them a call on 13 28 61 and take advantage of a tax time freebie.