By Adele Blair
Sitting back and waiting for a nice fat cheque to arrive? You’ve got your eye on a pair of fabulous shoes and if Mr Abbott is feeling particularly generous you might take the matching bag!
Wake up now: this fantasy has just been rudely interrupted by reality! The reality is that we may not have implemented our New Year’s Resolutions to be more organised at tax time. This is then followed by the impossible task of trying to find a year’s worth of documents and receipts and then the sad realization that we probably won’t be able to claim everything we are entitled to. Poof! The shoes and bag, gone in a puff of smoke!
The key to being organised at tax time is to have every single piece of paper ready to be called into action at a moments notice, and to do this you need some foolproof systems in place.
I know it sounds as dull as dishwater, but here are some tips on how you can be organised for tax time this year, even if you don’t have systems in place:
1. Chase up group certificates if you haven’t received them by 14 July. If you have moved house make sure all employers during the current financial year have your new details.
2. Pull together other items that are considered income, such as interest on bank accounts, dividends from shares
3. Find as many receipts as you can, hopefully you have a central place for these, otherwise try handbags, wallets, car, bedside table etc.
4. Group those receipts into sub-categories if you can such as Stationery, Magazines, Mobile Phone, Petrol, Donations, Training, Memberships and so on. Things you can claim for include:
- Work Car Related Expenses
- Work Travel Related Expenses
- Other Work Related Expenses, such as printing, subscriptions, stationery. Do note that they must relate specifically to your employment.
- Cost of managing your tax affairs, ie your accountant’s fee for preparing your tax return
5. Other documents you may need to present will be:
- End of financial year statement from your Private Health insurer. The health insurance rebate is now means tested so it’s a good time to double check your annual income and if you can adjust your rebate accordingly.
- Income Protection Insurance Statement
6. Have a quick look at the ATO website to make sure you are aware of everything you can claim. Visit www.ato.gov.au for full details.
7. Make an appointment with your Accountant, let them know what documents you already have and ask if there is anything else they require before you see them. If you don’t have an Accountant, ask around, a referral is always a great place to start.
Remember that the more organised/prepared you are for your accountant the easier it will be for them to complete your tax return and this may reduce your fee with them. Start now for next year and grab a concertina file to pop all your receipts in. If you are ever not sure – KEEP it and your accountant can work it out.
Fingers crossed your refund will cover the shoes AND the bag.
Blair Lifestyle Management