By Lucinda Starr
That’s right, tax time is nearly upon again. But, June 30 doesn’t have to be a date you dread. Instead, we’re here to show you how to nail tax time and get the most out of your tax return this financial year.
We know that women shoulder the lion’s share of unpaid work and are disproportionately impacted by the mental load (a.k.a. The fatigue and exhaustion caused by organising, list-making and planning for chores and life admin).
You’ve got enough on your plate, ladies. So, that’s why we’re curated your ultimate guide to everything you need to do at tax time to save you time, stress and (hopefully) money.
Whether you’ve been supported by JobSeeker, started a small business or worked from home in FY 2020/21, we’ve pulled together our top tips to help you prepare for tax with ease.
Plus, if you’re weighing up how to lodge your tax return, we reveal all your options from working with an accountant to opting for a DIY return.
Ready? Ladies, let’s do this.
Even before June 30 rolls around, the first step to mastering tax time is getting your paperwork in order. That means tracking down all your bank statements, logbook entries, receipts and any work-related expenses you’re thinking about claiming.
So, what key documents do you need to gather ahead of your tax return?
When it comes to your tax return, remember this golden rule: if you’re planning to claim something as a deduction, HAVE A RECEIPT.
Whether you create a Dropbox or Google Drive folder or use the free ATO myDeductions app, make sure you’ve got a copy of every expense receipt saved ahead of time. And if physical paperwork is more your jam, create simple manilla folders or large envelopes for all your records for each financial year.
Because nobody wants to be scrambling if they get audited by the ATO, right?
Speaking of deductions, there are plenty of expenses you can claim at tax time to reduce your taxable income (and ultimately your tax bill). But, there are strict rules and eligibility criteria that apply, particularly as more of us are working from home.
First up, let’s chat about work-related expenses. The ATO spells out three key criteria your expenses have to meet in order to be a deduction at tax time, including:
For a complete list of all the work-related expenses you can claim and any conditions that might apply, head to the ATO’s website.
Have you been working from home this financial year? The extra costs of power, lighting, heating and even a portion of your rent can be claimed as deductions. And last year, 4.4 million Aussies made a claim on WFH deductions (with many more expected to do the same in 2021).
There are two main ways to make a claim on work from home expenses, which include:
As we mentioned, the ATO is being increasingly vigilant about work-from-home related expense claims. So, make sure you have the correct records and receipts on hand when lodging your tax return.
It’s the question you might be asking yourself: do I need to see an accountant or can I lodge my tax return myself?
For each of us, the answer to this question will be different. If you’re happy to navigate the process on your own, you can jump online to lodge your tax return via the ATO’s myTax website. But, if you’re looking for extra support or have a more complex return to make, an accountant can streamline the process.
When deciding whether or not to see a tax accountant, here are a few questions to consider:
If you’re thinking of working with an accountant, make sure to speak with a few accountants and get a range of quotes to ensure you’re getting a fair price.
If you’re looking for ways to maximise your tax return, there are a few steps you can take before June 30. Make sure to speak with an accountant before taking these steps to ensure these strategies are right for you and your personal financial situation.
Some ways to maximise your tax return include:
When it comes to tax time, a bit of planning and preparation will put you in the best position to lodge a successful tax return. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused by the process, consider speaking with an accountant who can help you lodge your return with confidence. Whether you’re lodging your return yourself or not, always remember to have records of every expense claim on hand and ready for the taxman.