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The ATO vs. Online Tax Australia (OTA)

ato-versus-otaIt seems to come around more quickly every year but believe it or not tax time is here again. If you have not yet completed a return it is time to start getting your affairs together and dreaming about what you’re going to spend your tax refund on.

Tax time can be quite a confusing with a common question being, “why pay for a tax agent to do your tax when the ATO offers a completely free service”? This is a valid question, after all nobody wants to spend money on something when they can get the same result free of charge.

So, here’s a little rundown on the service you get from ATO as compared to the service you get from Online Tax Australia.

ATO

ATO’s myTax is a free system that allows you to do your tax return online. The system is quite easy to use although it is definitely not without its problems:

  • The biggest problem with using the ATO system is that once you login and start the process it’s all up to you. That means you have to go through the return and understand every section, put your claims in the right boxes and fill out all applicable sections with no help from an expert. As mentioned above, tax law is complex – very complex. It changes on a year-to-year basis and there are so many clauses and sub-clauses to every rule that people have made a profession out of understanding it and helping people with it, those people are called tax agents.
  • When you submit your return through myTax there is no crosschecking of your answers before it is sent to the ATO. Once you have pressed submit it is in the system. Not only does that mean you have to accept the return that you get it also means that you open yourself up to the wrath of ATO for any mistakes you may have made in regards to claiming deductions.
  • On top of all of that, the myTax system struggled to keep up with user-demand during the last tax season with many users reporting incredibly slow loading times and failed tax return lodgments.

So, that’s the ATO myTax experience, what about the OTA experience?

OTA

  • OTA’s service offers you all the flexibility and convenience that myTax does. You can complete your return from the comfort of your own home and you don’t have to do it all in one sitting. However, unlike the ATO option a qualified and experienced tax agent will check through your tax return before it is sent to the ATO.
  • This means that you will have an expert on hand to check your details also make sure you haven’t made any mistakes that could raise the ire of the ATO.
  • You will also be able to chat to a qualified accountant while you are completing the return to provide advice and assistance where requested.
  • OTA’s software is state-of-the-art, safe and secure. It has been approved by the ATO and it has been designed to give you a smooth and fast tax return lodgment experience. It will usually only take you about 15 minutes to complete your tax return.
  • So, there are some clear advantages to using the OTA system but what about the cost? In reality, the fixed price fee will actually pay for itself. Firstly, because in most cases your refund will improve and secondly because the fee is 100% tax deductible.
  • OTA is a registered tax agent, so once you are a registered customer you don’t have to worry about the October 31 deadline that those using the myTax system have to confront. That means you really don’t have to stress at all during this tax season, just get around to it whenever you have a spare 15 minutes.

So, those are the facts about the two systems. You can either battle through your tax return alone or you can enlist the help of an experienced tax agent that wants you to get a better return while providing you with Peace of Mind that your tax is correct.

The choice is yours.

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