The end of the financial year is only two months away. Once June 30 has passed, you will be joining millions of Australians who file their tax return each year. Last year, the Australian Tax Office sent letters to some people who had missed filing their tax returns in previous years. Since you do not want to start out your relationship with the ATO on the wrong foot, here are three important facts that you need to know about filing your tax return.
Who Has To Lodge A Return?
If you have earned money through a job, received interest on your bank balance, or made money off investment shares, you need to lodge a tax return. If you are not sure, there are two ways that you can find out whether you are legally obliged to lodge a tax return this year:
- Visit the eligibility page of the ATO website after June 30. This will have a link up for the 2015 year that will ask you a series of simple questions. After answering the questions, the website will tell you if you need to lodge a return.
- If you are not computer literate or have no Internet access, then a visit to a tax accountant will help to answer all the eligibility questions that you have.
E-File Or Paper File The First Time?
The answer to this question depends on how confident you feel about using the computer to fill in your tax return. E-filing is good for those who only have a salary income to declare, and don't have extra money coming in from property investments or shares. This is because their return is quite simple.
However, not all people like to use a computer for their tax returns as they prefer to receive the advice that comes from sitting down and discussing each question with a person, rather than a computer. For first time filers, a tax accountant can make sure that you learn everything you need to know about your first return, and you could then choose to e-file future returns once you are more comfortable with the tax subject.
What Is Needed To Complete A Tax Return?
Before you sit down to complete your tax return this year, you are going to need the following paperwork:
- PAYG declaration from your employer. This lists the amount of income you earned from them during the financial year, and how much tax they withheld and paid to the ATO.
- Copies of your bank statements showing any interest you earned.
- Copies of paperwork that shows financial details about your share investments, or rental income from property (if applicable).
- Receipts for all work-related expenses. For example, anything that you have bought to help you do your job may be tax deductible, but you need a receipt to back up your claims.
- Receipts for charitable donations as these can be claimed on your return.
- Evidence if you have used your private vehicle for work use. This includes parking receipts and a log book showing details of each time you used the car, including how far you drove.
The purpose of having all this paperwork to hand is not only to help you fill in the tax return, but also to back up your claims in the event that the ATO ever decides to audit you. Start gathering it now so it is ready for your first tax return in July.
If any of this information makes you feel concerned, or you feel the first tax return process is overwhelming, then you must seek the assistance of a tax accountant like CMA Chartered Accountants. They know how to make sure you get every deduction you are entitled to, and they will show you the right way to file your return correctly.
You do not want to start off your relationship with the tax department badly as you will be answering to them every year from now on until you retire. Get the professional help you need to file right the first time, and it will remove all tax stress in your life.