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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Tax Return

getting-the-most-from-your-tax-returnTax time is upon us and most people are checking their group certificates and gathering their receipts before October 31. We all love the feeling of getting some cash back from the tax man, with around 75% of us due a refund from the OTA each year. However, so many people end up with less than they should, simply because they’re not aware of what they can claim. So, here are a few tips to make sure you get the most you can out of the ATO.

Get a Game Plan

If you think your tax return is going to get complicated, it’s a good idea to get the help of a professional tax agent. Where a visit to an accountant and tax agent can be expensive, Online Tax Australia’s service provides you with access to expert advice and support, starting from just $89.  Best of all, you can complete the return from the comfort of your home with the knowledge that professional accountants will check your return before it is lodged with the ATO. Using our online system is easy and should only take around twenty minutes.

Do Your Research

The Online Tax Australia and ATO websites are full of information about what you can and cannot claim. Some research prior to lodgement means you won’t be exposed to future issues with the ATO. For easy to read information and advice jump on OTA’s Tax Tips and Help page to find out about occupation specific expenses and deductions.

Get Prepared Before You Tackle Your Tax Return

Don’t sit down at the computer until you have all your receipts and other evidence of expenses. There’s nothing worse than spending 4 hours on a tax return that should have taken 20 minutes because you spent half the time looking for that Officeworks receipt.

Take Advantage of Your Generosity

So many people forget to claim all those donations they made throughout the year. Some charities will even mail out an itemised list of all your donations, especially if it’s through direct debit. See our Guide to Tax Deductible Donations for more information.

If You’re Using Your Car for Work, Keep Track of It

There are four different methods you can use to claim your vehicle should you be using it for work purposes. Whichever one you use it could mean a far healthier tax return. You can’t claim for travel between work and home but you can claim for trips between multiple workplaces. See our page on vehicle deductions for more information.

If You Work from Home, Call It an Office

Even if you just do a couple of hours at night you can claim an expense for home office. Keep a diary to note the amount of time you use your home for work and you can claim the ATO’s approved $0.52 per hour which helps cover the cost of heating, light, desk and chair. If however you actually operate a business from home (such as in the case of a hairdresser or mechanic) where part of your home is dedicated to that business operation then you may be eligible to claim a percentage of all the property costs.

Early Bird Gets the Worm

Don’t wait for the avalanche that will land on ATO’s doorstep on the 31st of October. Get in early and get your return back early – enjoy the refund. For example, book a trip overseas, buy your Mum a new necklace, the possibilities are endless.

Don’t Cheat, the ATO Always Wins

Don’t even bother trying to get more than your share. The ATO penalties are nothing to be sneezed at. For example, only claim for actual expenses incurred in earning your income and not for expenses that have been reimbursed by your employer. Remember, the ATO has access to information when assessing your returns and they can issue amended returns anytime over the following 2-3 years.

Interest and Depreciation Mean More Money in Your Pocket

Don’t forget to claim on the interest you pay for loans used to purchase shares and/or investment rental property.  Also, if you own a rental property it may be worthwhile engaging a quantity surveyor to assess it and provide you with a depreciation schedule which will make preparing and lodging your return easier.  Make your investments work for you at tax time.

You Don’t Need Evidence if your total Claims are Under $300

So many people fail to take advantage of this as most people will comfortably spend this amount on work related expenses.

So, gather your information, such as income summaries, receipts, credit card statements and jump in front of a computer. Let the OTA system and support services help making doing your tax return easy.

Contact Online Tax Australia for All Your Online Tax Return Needs

If you’ve been searching for an experienced, professionally qualified, transparent accountant that truly understands tax rules and regulations in relation to sport and fitness professionals, then contact the friendly team at Online Tax Australia today:

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