Tips to Help You Lodge Your Tax Return

When it comes to claiming your tax each year, you’re entitled to claim deductions numerous expenses — many of which are work-related expenses. In order to maximise your tax return, it’s best to understand just what you can claim and the best way to lodge your return – whether it be via a tax agent, or online via the Australian Tax Organisation (ATO).

Here are our top tips to lodging your tax return.

Upon completion, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will assess your income, expenses, and deductions to determine if you’ll have to pay additional taxes or get a refund.

When is the Tax Return Deadline?

A tax return covers any income and expenses from July 1st to June 30th the following year (known as the financial year). At the end of it, you have to lodge your tax returns on or before October 31st.

Upon completion, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will assess your income, expenses, and deductions to determine if you’ll have to pay additional taxes or get a refund.

Documents needed to file a tax return in Australia

When lodging your tax return, you are required to present certain documents for it to be applicable. The most important ones you’ll need are any income and bank statements, but you will also need:

  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) payment summary
  • Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Bank Account Details
  • Details of any Additional Income (investments or rental income)
  • Details of any Centrelink Payments Received
  • Details of any Other Tax Offset Information
  • Details of any Occupation Specific Deductions You Wish to Claim
  • Interest Accumulated from Bank Account
  • Medicare and Private Health Care Statements.

If you plan to claim more than $300 in work-related expenses, you will need the following as well:

  • Copies of Receipts or Invoices
  • Home Office Logbook
  • Travel Logbook
  • Credit Card Statements

Deductions You Can Claim

Work-Related Expenses

To claim a work-related deduction, you must have spent the money yourself and you must not have been reimbursed by your employer. It must relate to earning your income and proven with a record. You can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion if the expense was for both work and private purposes.

Note: Employees can claim work-related expenses in the financial year they are incurred.

You may be able to claim a deduction for expenses that directly relate to your work, including:

  • Clothing, Laundry, and Dry-Cleaning Expenses — a uniform needs to be unique and distinctive to legitimately claim it’s cost
  • Home Office Expenses — costs could include your phone, computer, or other electronic devices, and running costs (e.g., internet service)
  • Self-Education Expenses — claim expenses such as course fees, student union fees, textbooks, professional journals, and stationery
  • Tools, Equipment and Other Assets — protective gear, sunglasses, hats, office equipment, safety equipment, and technical instruments
  • Vehicle and Travel Expenses — if you work in different locations or use your car for work.

Other Deductions

  • ATO interest (calculation and reporting)
  • Interest Charged by the ATO — imposed interest includes General Interest Charge (GIC), shortfall interest charge (SIC), and late payment interest.
  • Cost of Managing Tax Affairs — includes buying tax reference material, tax return preparation courses, lodging your tax return through a registered tax agent, etc.
  • Gifts and Donations — to organisations that are endorsed by the ATO as deductible gift recipients.
  • Interest, Dividend, and Other Investment Income Deductions
  • Personal Super Contributions — if made during the year to a complying super fund or a retirement savings account (RSA).
  • Undeducted Purchase Price (UPP) of a Foreign Pension or Annuity — the UPP is the amount you contributed towards the purchase price of your pension or annuity – your personal contributions.

See Occupation and Industry Specific Guides to find out more about income, allowances, and deductions you can claim for work-related expenses.

Lodging your Tax Return

After gathering information, it’s lodging time! Now, you can always lodge a paper tax return by mail. Income tax can be complicated, and you wouldn’t want to pay a fine or miss out on a refund. If you want to take some of the stress out of tax time, consider these ways to lodge your tax return.

Lodge Online Yourself

MyTax is the easy, quick, and secure way to lodge your tax return online and is accessed through myGov. You can print and review your tax return before you lodge and see a detailed breakdown of your estimated additional taxes or refund.

You’ll have a quicker and easier experience as most information from your employer, bank, and government agencies will be pre-filled by early August. You can also upload your myDeductions (included in the ATO app) data to pre-fill your tax return.

For employees and sole traders, you can use myDeductions to keep records of your work, general expenses, income, and deductions to make lodging your tax return faster and easier.

Download the ATO app then select the myDeductions icon.

Google Play           App Store

Lodge Using a Registered Tax Agent

Most people who lodge a tax return choose to do so through a registered accountant or tax agent because of obvious reasons.

Every profession varies when it comes to claiming deductions. A registered tax agent understands specific deductions and they are allowed to charge a fee to prepare and lodge your tax return. Their fee is also tax deductible on next year’s tax return. Most registered tax agents have a special lodgement program and can lodge returns for their clients after the usual October 31 deadline.

Find a registered tax agent or check whether an agent is registered by visiting the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) website.

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Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.