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How to Use The ATO Tax Return Calculator

tax-return-calculatorThe ATO Tax Return Calculator is an incredibly useful tool in preparing yourself for your tax return. It will give you an accurate idea of what you might owe the ATO or what will be returned to you, which is invaluable in planning your finances.

This tool can be used to help determine your tax refund or debt for the 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 financial years. This tax return calculator can also help determine your liability regarding the Medicare levy and Medicare levy surcharge, repayments under the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), the Trade Support Loan (TLS) and Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS), as well as any tax offsets for which you may be eligible.

An alternative option to the ATO calculator is to open an Online Tax Australia account and load the same information into a tax return. When loaded, the service provides a detailed tax refund estimate. There is no obligation or fee payable should you choose not to lodge your tax return through OTA. If, however, you are happy with the result, you can choose to complete you tax return with only a couple of extra clicks.

What You Need to Use the ATO Tax Return Calculator

In order to use the ATO’s tax return calculator you need to have:

  • Residency status
  • A taxable income for the financial year in question
  • A list of the tax credits and offsets or deductions that you can claim

Everyone that has a taxable income can use this tool, unless:

  • You received a payment due to being let go from your job
  • You have a lump sum payment in arrears
  • You received a lump sum payment due to changing job or returning to a job
  • You were under 18 during the tax year you want to assess and received any unearned income through investment income such as interest and dividends
  • You received credit for tax paid by a trustee
  • You received income from foreign employment that has been declared exempt from taxation
  • You received income that was averaged or superannuation concessional contributions that came to more than you cap

Using the ATO’s Tax Return Calculator

It is quite easy, and straightforward to use the ATO’s tax return calculator.  Just follow these simple steps:

  1. To access the ATO Tax Return Calculator, simply follow this link and navigate to the bottom of the page.
  2. Select the financial year that you want to calculate.
  3. Then fill in all the information fields as follows (the fields outlined below are those included for the 2014-2015 financial year; other years may vary slightly):
    1. Check your residency status. It is very important that you fill this in as accurately as possible. It has a significant bearing on your tax liability and providing incorrect information will affect the accuracy of the final calculated amount.
    2. Fill in all the income boxes as they apply to you; it’s a good idea to have all of the information regarding your income ready and sitting next to you in order to make the process quicker. Don’t turn a 20-minute process into a daylong marathon by spending half of your time searching the house for that document regarding the rental property loss that your accountant sent you six months ago.
    3. Select the items that you want the calculator to take into account when preparing your results. These items include things like the private health insurance rebate, pensions and youth allowance, and non-refundable tax offsets. If you are unsure, then click ‘Yes’.
    4. Provide accurate details regarding your family status. This goes without saying, but there’s no point trying to give false information. It will only lead to disappointment when you lodge your actual return with the ATO.
    5. If you have a spouse, which is defined by the ATO as being any person that you are married to, were registered as being in a relationship with or any person that you live with on a genuine basis as a couple, you must also enter their taxable income details. Even if you aren’t in a relationship with the spouse anymore you are still required to outline their taxable income if you were together for any part of the year you are calculating. If you enter into a relationship that will affect your tax, remember to keep duplicate records of everything, it makes things so much easier in the case of a break-up.
    6. Once all these details are entered, you will be able to view your report. If the amount is less than what you expected, or it has come back saying that you owe money, then it’s always a good idea to contact an accountant or registered tax agent to figure out why you got the result you did. You may have forgotten to include some offsets you’re entitled to or you may have incorrectly filled in details regarding your spouse’s taxable income. Remember, this is just an estimate and your exact return or debt will not be known until you have lodged your return.

Online Tax Australia is here to help ensure that you get the best tax return you can.

If you were surprised with the amount shown by the ATO Tax Return Calculator, then contact us today.

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