5 Top Tax Tips for Individuals – contributed by Enlightened Accounting
- Don’t leave it until “tax time”. Organise your receipts & records as you go. It is much easier to find all your deductions at year end if you have kept them together throughout the year. If you don’t have a system in place, download the ATO’s App (it’s free!). You can take a picture and save all your receipts as you go so you have a summary at tax time. If you prefer to prepare your return yourself you can load the information straight from the app to my gov to prepare your return. If you prefer to use a tax agent you can send them an email straight from the app with all the information you have saved. (https://www.ato.gov.au/general/online-services/ato-app/)
- Keep a ‘working from home’ diary. (An extension of #1 really). Work from home sometimes? Grab a calendar (I like the free ones that you can get from the council) where you have a month on each page, keep it where you do your work when you’re at home. Every day that you work from home write down the hours on the calendar for that day. Record ready for the end of the year without having to guess or go through old emails to find the dates.
- Watch out for scams. Some of my most savvy clients have reported some convincing scam phone calls. If you’re registered with a Tax Agent, the ATO will always contact them first, so if the communication didn’t come through them, it might be a scam. If you’re not expecting a phone call, just tell them you’ll call back. If you aren’t sure if it was a scam call the ATO or your tax agent to check. The ATO never makes threats or demands, if they do this to you, it’s a scam.
- Ask the ATO for a reference number. If you speak to the ATO and they need to get back to you regarding your query or request, ask for a reference number for the call. That way if you need to follow up, when you call again you can give them the number so they can refer straight to the case and to your previous notes. Also ask for the ‘service standard’ for your request. This is the internal time limit that the relevant ATO department/case officer has to solve the problem. It will give you an indication of the longest it will take to hear back.
- Evidence is key. The are three golden rules for a tax deduction. (1) you must have spent the money (and not been reimbursed). (2) It must have been required for your work (not personal in nature). and (3) You must have evidence to prove it. (Receipt, diary, photos, emails, logbooks and calculations are all some examples.)
Thanks for taking the time to read my article 5 Top Tax Tips for Individuals
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