1 – Know Your Deductions
Make sure you’re claiming every deduction and work-related expense you made from that year in your online tax return.
As an employee, you may be able to claim deductions for work-related expenses for your work. These expenses can range from:
- Clothing/uniform expenses, including dry cleaning;
- Education expenses;
- Union fees;
- Home computer and phone expenses;
- Tools and equipment expenses;
- Journals or trade magazines; and/or
- Travel/car expenses, including fuel and maintenance.
These deductions can be made in full or as a percentage for expenses that are not wholly work-related, such as work calls made from your personal phone.
If you have any travel-related expense that directly elates to your specific job function that your employer has not reimbursed you for, you may be eligible to claim a deduction. Travel expenses you can claim on your tax return under Item D2 can include:
- Air, bus, train and taxi fares;
- Bridge and road tolls;
- Parking fees;
- Car hire charges;
- Incidentals; and/or
- Meals (if your travel included an overnight stay).
Claiming deductions you are entitled to can make a big difference at tax time, however any significant purchases over $300 must be supported by receipts or documentation. Be careful to not claim anything you did not actually purchase though – these claims are carefully considered by the ATO.
If you’re not sure or need help deciphering which deductions you are entitled to, contact one of our tax specialists at Online Tax Return, and our team can help you maximise your deductions.
2 – Keep Your Receipts
It’s important to save your receipts for purchases throughout the financial year for work-related expenses – even for items that are only partially for work.
For example, if you use your personal mobile phone for work-related calls, you can claim a portion of your annual phone bill on your tax return.
To do so, use an account statement from a typical month, and work out the percentage of work calls made and claim that percentage. While this seems tedious, it can make a big difference!
Keeping a travel diary if you intend to claim travel deductions if you’re on the road for work is a great idea. Keeping specific records is vital to ensuring yourself an accurate claim and security should you be audited. A diary of your kilometres travelled, repairs and servicing, as well as any receipts for insurance, registration, fuel and oil.
Once you are in the habit of tracking your travel receipts and habits this way, it can then help track the rest of your work-related expenses too. Those one-off purchases of client coffees or a wireless keyboard will no longer be forgotten!
If a physical diary is too cumbersome, you can always try keeping digital records. There are a multitude of free apps available for Apple or Android phones to seamlessly track your expenses, receipts and records, such as BizXpense Tracker, Expensify, Smart Receipts, or even ASIC’s TrackMySPEND.
These apps make it easy to compile all the information you need to accurately plot your expenses over the whole year. When combined with the experience and knowledge of our Online Tax Return specialists, this information could make a huge difference in your tax return!
3 – Prepay, prepay, prepay
It may sound counterintuitive, but in certain situations it’s a good idea to purchase some items sooner rather than later.
Items you may be able to prepay for include:
- membership fees,
- income protection insurance, and
- industry-specific magazine or newspaper subscriptions.
Own a rental or investment property? Prepaying for the next 12 months’ expenses can increase your tax return this financial year. Deductions can be made for prepaying things such as:
- council and water rates,
- body corporate fees,
- repairs and maintenance.
If you’re a small business owner, consider making business purchases at this end of the financial year. Often, business-specific items are priced to entice businesses to buy big at the end of June, so it can save you money in the long run and are deductable. Stocking up on consumables such as stationery before the end of June can also help offset profits.
Strategically considering your taxes is an important step in maximising your tax return. Speaking with tax specialists like our team at Online Tax Return is the best way to make the most of your tax situation.
4 – Lodge on Time
Whether your income was $300 or $300,000, if you paid any tax within the last financial year, you will need to lodge a tax return.
If you plan to self-lodge, you need to do so after July 1 but before October 31. After that, you may incur a steep late lodgement penalty of $210. This penalty increases by a further $210 for every 28-day period it remains outstanding to a cap of $1050. This failure to lodge (FTL) cost is for small entity, and increases for medium and large entities.
Leaving Australia to travel? Contact a tax agent to organise an extension if you will not be back before October 31.
It’s best to contact us at Online Tax Return before October 31 if you are concerned you will miss the deadline for whatever reason. If you are registered with us, you may be eligible for an extended lodgement deadline without penalty.
You must be registered with us on or before October 31 to benefit!
5 – Use an Agent for your Online Tax Return
By far the simplest way to make the most out of your tax return is to get help from professionals. Tax agents know the tax system inside and out, and can get you the most from your return.
Using an online platform like Online Tax Return is even easier than tracking down an agent. Once you fill out our online form, a tax specialist will contact you for a quick phone consultation before taking care of the rest. No upfront payment, no messy paperwork, only quick and easy service for as little as $19.
Lodged my Tax Return online and was happy with my refund, nice and easy process.
Easiest online return i have tried, no messy paperwork or appointments. Great experience!