1. Be prepared
The easiest way to take the worry out of your tax return is to compile a checklist of all the stuff you need to complete it. And lucky for you, we’ve complied the checklist for you—even less stress!
- Tax File Number (TFN)
- Bank details: BSB, account number, account holder name, bank name
- Medicare details (for medical expenses)
- Details of your children
- Last year’s Income Tax Assessment
- Payment summaries (PAYG) from all places where you have received an income.
- Any lump-sum payments you may have received eg. termination payments, Centrelink. Personal injury payouts don’t need to be reported if they occurred outside work or are unrelated to your workplace.
- Details on foreign earnings.
- Interest received from banks or building societies.
- Statements of dividends received or invested.
- Statements on earnings from managed funds.
- Any other income gained, i.e. from properties or investments.
- If you have a spouse you will need details on their earnings and expenses.
- Receipts for gifts and donations
- Receipts for work-related expenses, including transport (mileage), uniforms & technology necessary for work
- If self-employed, contributions to superannuation
- Details about your income protection insurance
- Costs for managing tax calculations, i.e. tax agents
- Medical receipts, totalling >$2,120
2. Keep organised
Keeping track of all the necessary receipts throughout the year can be a little tedious, but staying on top of your refundable expenses can really optimise your tax return. Allocate a file or folder to keep all of your receipts from work expenses and charity donations.
If you have school-aged children, are you eligible for the Schoolkids Bonus?
Each year, eligible families can receive up to:
- $422 for each child in primary school (2 instalments of $211)
- $842 for each child in secondary school (2 instalments of $421)
Make sure to check your eligibility for the Schoolkids Bonus. Keep in mind that this bonus is ending in 2016, so this is will be your last year to claim the Schoolkids Bonus.
3. Know your tax agents
To check the legitimacy of your tax agent, ask to see their Certificate of Resgistration of Tax Agent, and confirm it by contacting the Australian Taxation Office. You can find a comprehensive overview of popular tax agents, their services, perks and fees here. For some services that can help with all of your tax troubles, contact these local Wollongong accountants.
[Related: How To Get The Most From Your Tax]