Avoiding common Tax Return mistakes

What’s not to love about tax time, specifically if the ATO owes you. We look at how to best avoid the more common mistakes when sorting out your tax return.
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What’s not to love about tax time? The ATO wants to hand back some of the money it took from you! Billions of dollars raining from the sky.

Okay, your first mistake is dreading tax time. Flip the way you think about it. It’s like finding money on the ground.

As an employee, I looked forward to going to see my accountant more than Christmas. I’d book months in advance. I wanted to that money back helping my mortgage, where it belonged.

The second biggest mistake is not getting professional help. Like the warnings to geek science littlies glued to the tube for The Curiosity Show in the 70s, “don’t try this at home”.

Only if your affairs are very simple should you do your tax return yourself through the ATO portal. Most people would actually benefit from seeing an accountant. If nothing more than for a tax-deductible fee of a couple of hundred dollars, someone does it better and faster than you would.

The third biggest mistake is to make this time of year harder than it should be. How do you simplify it? Simple, with a shoebox. Feed it regularly.

During the year, any paperwork that has a slight tax bent about it, deductible spending, dividend payments, rent, interest statements, donations, healthcare costs, etc, drop it into that shoebox. This includes relevant receipts when you’re cleaning out your wallet/purse. Your accountant will sort out what is and what isn’t a legitimate deduction.

When your “payment summary” from your employer arrives, make an appointment with your accountant. Then plan a small reward for yourself.
 
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Bruce Brammall is the author of Debt Man Walking (www.debtman.com.au) and principal adviser with Castellan Financial Consulting.