Tax Return Tips
Tax return tips
Lodging your personal tax return can be daunting so we have laid out simple guidelines to help you gather the right information.
What Records do you need to complete your tax return?
You will nee to get the following so you can complete your tax return
- Your employment payment summaries – Illustrating your income for the year including income from: your employer, any super fund,all government payments like Centrelink and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Your Bank statements – These should detail any interest the accounts have earned and any fees paid.
- Any Shares, unit trusts or managed funds statements -Documentation on dividends or distributions you’ve received. Also any dividends that you’ve elected to reinvest must also be declared as income.
- Investment statements – For the purpose of calculating any capital gains and losses. Information about the buying and selling of any shares and investments
- Your rental property – Details of income received and expenses paid, including any capital gains or capital losses from the sale of property.
- Income from other countries – Details of foreign pensions or other foreign income.
- Private health insurance policy statement – Information needed to complete the private health insurance section of your tax return.
What Income do you need to declare?
- Your full employment income
- Super pensions, annuities and government payments
- Investment income (including interest, dividends, rent and capital gains)
- Business, partnership and trust income
- Foreign income
- Income from crowdfunding (for example donations received for a venture in which you intend to make a profit)
- Income from the sharing economy (for example Uber or Air BnB)
- Other income – including compensation and insurance payments, discounted shares under employee share schemes, some prizes and awards
Visit the ATO’s website for more information on income you must declare.
Tax deductions reduce your taxable income, and therefore the amount of tax you have to pay. You are entitled to claim deductions for some expenses, most of which are directly related to your earnings. These are called work-related expenses.
Here’s a list of the things the ATO say you may be able to claim.
- Vehicle and travel expenses – This does not normally include the cost of travel between work and home but if you use your car for work or work in different locations then you may be able to claim a deduction.
- Clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses – To legitimately claim the cost of a uniform, it needs be unique and distinctive, for example it contains your employer’s logo, or is specific to your occupation, like chef’s pants or coloured safety vests.
- Gifts and donations – to organisations that are endorsed by the ATO as deductible gift recipients.
- Home office expenses – Costs could include your computer, phone or other electronic device and running costs such as an internet service. You can only claim the proportion of expenses that relate to work, not private use.
- Interest, dividend and other investment income deductions – Examples include interest, account fees, investing magazines and subscriptions, internet access, depreciation on your computer.
- Self-education expenses – Providing the study relates to your current job, you can claim expenses like course fees, student union fees, textbooks, stationery, internet, home office expenses, professional journals and some travel.
- Tools, equipment and other equipment – If you buy tools or equipment to help earn your income, you can claim a deduction for some or all of the cost. Examples include protective gear, including sunscreen, sunglasses and hats if you work outside, office equipment, safety equipment and technical instruments.
- Other deductions – other items you can claim include union fees, the cost of managing tax affairs, income protection insurance (not if it’s through super), overtime meals, personal super contributions and other expenses incurred in the course of earning an income.
Remember to be able claim a deduction for work-related expenses you must have
- Spent the money yourself and have not been reimbursed.
- The expenditure must be directly related to earning your income.
- A record/receipt that is proof that you have personally paid for it.
Tax deductions that the ATO will not allow
- Travel between home and work – which is generally considered private travel.
- Car expenses – unless you are transporting bulky tools or equipment, that you need to do your job, that your employer requires you to transport, and there is no secure area to store the equipment at work.
- Car expenses – that have been salary sacrificed.
- Meal expenses – unless you were required to work away from home overnight.
- Private travel – including any personal travel portion of work-related travel.
- Everyday clothes – you bought to wear to work (for example, a suit or black pants), even if your employer requires you to wear them.
- The cost of laundering eligible work clothes – unless you can show how you calculated the cost.
- Higher Education Loan Program – contributions charged through the HELP scheme.
- Self-education expenses – where there is no direct connection to your current employment.
- Phone or internet expenses – that relate to private use.
- Tools and equipment that cost more than $300 – however, you can depreciate the cost over a number of years.
Lodge your return before the deadline of 31st October 2017
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