Accountant Calculating Invoice Using Calculator And Pen
Accountant Calculating Invoice Using Calculator And Pen

How to get ahead of tax time

MANY Australians have failed to tuck away their receipts, leaving them with a mad dash to get organised ahead of tax time.

As workers, investors and business owners have less than a week to boost this year's refund through tax-deductible spending, new data suggests many are flying blind.

Research commissioned by accounting software firm MYOB found that 46 per cent of people haven't bothered to file their receipts.

It found that the younger we are, the less organised we are with our tax. Among people aged 55 and over, 67 per cent stored their receipts during the year, compared with 49 per cent of those aged 25 to 34.

MYOB general manager of partners Blake Collins said "it's not too late to get organised".

"You have until October to submit your 2018-19 tax return, so if people haven't actually got their receipts sorted yet, now is the time to do it," he said.

"It's important you do your research. Go to the ATO website regarding what is tax-deductible."

The clock is ticking for tax deductions, and you’ll have to act before June 30.
The clock is ticking for tax deductions, and you’ll have to act before June 30.

The research found that 57 per cent of people engage an accountant or tax agent. H & R Block's director of tax communications, Mark Chapman, said there were easy ways to find a good one.

"The best way is through word of mouth - speak to your family and friends and find out who they use," he said.

"If you don't have that sort of network, take a look at the Tax Practitioners website and you will see all the registered tax agents and you can choose one that is local to you.

"But a referral is always best because if you have someone who is satisfied with their tax agent then you may be too." The cost of using a tax professional is tax-deductible.

Ensure your receipts are ready so you can grab the biggest possible tax refund.
Ensure your receipts are ready so you can grab the biggest possible tax refund.

The most pressing issue for taxpayers this week is to sort out their tax-deductible spending, donations, superannuation issues and health insurance. Once June 30 ticks over it's too late.

Financial strategist Theo Marinis said personal tax-deductible super contributions must be received and banked before June 30.

"Most funds have a cut-off date before June 30," he said. "With 30 June being on a Sunday, if you plan to do so I strongly recommend you do so by 24 June to ensure you don not miss out or make a mistake."

People wanting to give money to charity and claim a tax deduction for it should donate by Friday rather than wait for the weekend, said Australian Unity Trustees executive general manager Emma Sakellaris.

"It is not the date that the donation is made, but the date that it is received that is important for tax deductibility," she said.

Spending on work-related items such as technology or home office materials must be done by Sunday, while property investors should consider spending on maintenance and prepaying interest or insurance this week.

It's a busy time for health insurance too, and iSelect spokeswoman Laura Crowden said people aged under 31 should think about taking out hospital cover "to avoid being stung with higher premiums later in life due to the Lifetime Health Cover loading".

"Many funds are offering generous deals and incentives to new customers until June 30 including hundreds of dollars in gift cards, airline points, months free or waiving waiting periods," she said.

THIS WEEK'S TO-DO LIST

Employees: Buy work-related items including computers, stationery, home office equipment, digital subscriptions and professional journals, uniforms, protective clothing and tools.

Super fund members: Immediately make tax-deductible and after-tax superannuation contributions to access various caps and incentives.

Investors: Prepay interest on investment loans or insurance where possible, spend money on property maintenance, sell loss-making shares to offset capital gains elsewhere.

Business owners: Use the instant asset write-off to spend up to $30,000 per item and claim an immediate deduction on the full amount.



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