The Internet has taken over every aspect of our lives, in both good and bad ways. Older generations long for the days when kids would play outside instead of being glued to an iPad, some people believe that online dating has killed whatever was left of old-fashioned romance, and Australia Post looks back fondly at a time where everyone relied on snail mail to communicate. However, the ‘onlining’ of life has been very beneficial in relation to preparing and lodging your tax return.
The ability to lodge online gives you the ability to do your own tax, from the comfort of your own home at a time that is convenient to you. It also provides you with access to advice from qualified, experienced tax agents at a fixed fee, rather than the usual $100 to $150 per hour.
The option to file your own paper tax return has always been around, but that involved printing off the form, buying a business sized envelope and trudging all the way down to the nearest post box so you could wait nearly two months to see any of the money you are owed. In comparison, the ATO usually processes tax refunds for tax returns lodged online within 10 to 14 business days – that’s a huge difference and probably a sign that even ATO prefers you to do your tax online.
What Services Can I Use to Do My Own Tax Online?
ATO has two online lodgment services etax and myTax. The challenge with these services is that they require you to have a reasonable understanding of the tax system and unless you read up on tax law as a hobby, chances are you’re not going to be equipped with the information you need to get the best legal refund you can (or at least not without getting yourself in trouble or facing a dreaded audit).
That’s where we come in. Online Tax Australia offers a service that combines all the ease of submitting your return online with the knowledge that everything you enter will be checked over by an experienced, registered tax practitioner. The best part is, the flat rate you pay to lodge your return through OTA is tax deductible and there’s a fair chance you will recoup the fee by improving your return. Using OTA is almost like doing your own tax with training wheels on; you get all the freedom of lodging independently but if you hit a bump there is a safety net there.
Preparing Yourself to Do Your Own Tax
The big draw card of doing your own tax online is that it is a huge timesaver. To make the process even quicker, here are some tips on getting yourself organised:
- Get your documents prepared: don’t sit down at the computer you have all of the information that you think you will need. This means all your income details, receipts for claiming work deductions, any interest you have paid on your rental property etc – basically anything that is of financial importance.
- Get your finances and health cover prepared: check your private health cover and make sure you have a copy of the annual statement provided by your health insurance provider.
- Research what you can claim and get evidence: OTA will be able to assist you in this area. It is as simple as sending an email with any questions or call our office and speaking with one of our tax agents. The ATO is cracking down on people who are making false claims for work deductions, so make sure you retain receipts for expenses you claim which have not been reimbursed by your employer. Find all the receipts for any money you gave to registered charities and engage a quantity surveyor to assess your rental property (if you have one) as they will outline what you can claim in the relation to depreciation of assets and building write off expenses.
The benefits of doing your own tax are numerous and the benefits of doing it online make using OTA’s online service a no-brainer. No more having to book an appointment with your accountant five months ahead only to have to make another appointment because you forgot a document. Just set up your account, answer a series of yes or no questions and in about 20 minutes your tax return will be lodged and ready for review. Start your tax online today, or contact us for more information.