These simple steps can help make tax a treat instead of a tedious task.
There’s a lot to love about tax time. After all, it can mean receiving a welcome tax refund and with our five simple steps you could find tax time is a lot less stressful than you expect.
Gather your paperwork
Preparing a tax return is much easier when you have all the paperwork on hand. Sort out receipts for tax claims like work related expenses or investment property costs including your home loan statements. Organise statements for savings accounts and other investments, and make sure you have your Pay As You Go (PAYG) Payment Summary or Group Certificate on hand.
If you prepare your own tax return you have until 31 October 2016 to lodge your FY16 tax return. But why wait? The sooner you have a tax refund, the sooner you can put the money to another use. Getting started now means you’ll be ready to lodge your tax return soon after 30 June.
Don’t overlook capital gains
If you have made a profit selling assets like shares or property you could be up for capital gains tax. It’s important to include details of these assets in your tax return because the tax man looks at registry records of shares and property to find out who has sold assets to check if any gains have gone unreported.
Make good use of Tax Office tools
The Tax Office offers a surprisingly wide range of tools to make tax time easier. If you spend at least part of your week working from a home office, you may be able to claim a tax break for some of the running costs of your home office like electricity, internet or phone expenses. The ATO’s website features an online calculator that lets you work out what you may be able to claim.
To make lodging your tax return easier, the tax man offers MyTax – an online tax return system.
Seek expert help
We could all do with a bit of help filling out our tax returns and if you’re concerned about the cost of using a registered tax agent, it’s good to know that free support is available. If your tax affairs are straightforward and you are on a low income, you may be eligible for the ATO’s Tax Help service. It’s a network of community volunteers trained by the ATO to help you complete your tax return. Tax Help is usually available from July to October. Just call the Tax Office for more information – income limits apply to be eligible.
Do you have other tips for cutting EOFY stress? Share them with us in the comments below.
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