Tackling your tax

The best piece of general advice we can offer about tax, is preparation.

Try to gather all your paperwork and lodge your tax return as early as possible. This will help you keep stress and worry to a minimum, and may also prevent you from receiving a Failure to Lodge (FTL) penalty charge. If you’re using an accountant or other tax service, give them plenty of notice and provide all the relevant information. This will help your return getting submitted in a timely fashion, as well as ensuring that you are maximising your deductions. Please be aware that your expenses must be:

  • Real - you must have spent the money yourself and not have been reimbursed
  • Relevant - expenses must be related to your job; and
  • Recorded - you must have a record to prove you paid for it.

Below are some areas you would want to be mindful of before you lodge your tax return:

Your Income

Payment summaries - These outline the income you have received from your employer, super funds or payments from government agencies like Centrelink.

Bank statements and interest – The interest you earn from your account forms part of your assessable income. As a Summerland customer, you can obtain this information easily. Once you have logged into internet banking, click ‘Accounts’ on the main taskbar, and once the drop down appears, select ‘Interest details’. From there, if you wish to print out the interest earnt, click on the printer icon at the bottom of your internet browser.

Shares, unit trusts or managed funds statements – This is used to work out any dividends or distributions made to you.

Buy and sell investment statements - If you bought or sold any shares, you can obtain Buy and Sell Investment Statements from your investment adviser or stockbroker as they will prove helpful at tax time. You can also obtain dividend statements from online services like Computershare.

Records from your rental property - Includes information relating to rental income and a capital gain or capital loss from the sale of a property.

Foreign income details - Details of foreign pensions or other foreign income.

Your Expenses

Private health insurance policy statement - You will need this to complete the private health insurance section of your tax return (if applicable).

Donation receipts – Your donations may be tax deductible and you can obtain your donations receipts for any approved charities you contribute to.

Educational records and receipts - Not all expenses are claimable, see the Australian Taxation Office's Self-Education Expenses page for more information.

Investment property receipts - These will help you claim the following costs in relation to your investment property:

  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Council rates
  • Land tax
  • Water rates
  • Insurance
  • Interest on loan relating to investment property
  • Travel costs for the inspection of investment property

Your spouse's income and expenses - If you have a spouse, you will also need details of their income and expenses to make sure your entitlements are correctly calculated.

Union membership - You can deduct the cost of your union membership from your taxable income.

Work related expenses - You may be able to claim some work related expenses, but there are some expenses you won't be able to claim even if they are work related.

The information in this article is taken from Money Smart . The comments in this article are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information applicability to their own particular circumstances. Please visit the Australian Taxation Office for more information.