Tax returns handy tips

Staying up to date with your tax returns doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some tips on how to meet your obligations with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

This article is not intended to be taken as taxation advice and if you need any help lodging a tax return speak to an accountant or tax agent. They’ll work with you to understand the ins and outs of your financial situation and can guide you through the tax return process.

1. Do you need to lodge a tax return?

If you’ve paid any tax on your income between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, then you’ll probably need to lodge a tax return. And remember, your income includes money you receive from working – whether it’s from an employer, freelance work or running your own business – and also any returns on your investments.

You might also need to lodge a tax return in other circumstances. If you’re not sure whether you have to complete a tax return for this financial year, you can find out on the ATO website ( or by contacting a tax agent or accountant.

2. How do you lodge a tax return?

There are a variety of ways you can lodge your return including MyTax which allows you to lodge your tax return online and is provided by the ATO. To get started, you’ll need to set up a MyGov account linked to the ATO. You’ll also need your Tax File Number (TFN).

Another option to lodge your return is to get a registered tax agent or accountant to lodge your tax return on your behalf. When choosing a tax agent, make sure they’re reputable and are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board. You’ll need to pay a fee for their services, but the amount is usually tax deductible.

3. When do you need to lodge it by?

If you’re doing your own tax return through MyTax, you’ll need to submit it by 31 October 2018. But, if you get a tax agent or accountant to lodge it for you, a later deadline may apply.

4. Can you claim any deductions?

Have you made any donations to registered charities this financial year? If so, you might be able to claim a tax deduction on any amounts of at least $2. Different rules apply, so check with an accountant or tax agent to see if you can make a claim. There may be other tax deductions you can claim as well, depending on your job and work situation.

The ATO has information about the types of work-related deductions you might be able to claim such as travel, tools, uniforms, training and education costs and home office expenses.

In some instances, it may even be possible to claim deductions on your personal super contributions or costs incurred from generating investment earnings.

You’ll need to keep receipts for any expenses you want to claim. A tax agent or accountant can help you work out which deductions you’re eligible for.

5. What happens next?

Once the ATO has processed your tax return, they’ll send you a notice telling you if you’re entitled to a refund or if you have a tax debt.

If you or a tax agent or accountant submits your tax return electronically, it usually takes two weeks for your refund to be paid into the bank account you nominated on your tax return. You can track the progress of this payment through MyGov.

If you owe tax to the ATO, they’ll provide instructions on how to pay this via BPAY or with a credit or debit card.

Source: Colonial First State


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