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A tax guide for first-time lodgers: Steps to tax success

By Reporter
  • June 14 2021
  • Share

Earn

A tax guide for first-time lodgers: Steps to tax success

By Reporter
June 14 2021

The ATO has released a guide for first-time tax lodgers aimed to make the lodgement quick, secure and easy at tax time.

A tax guide for first-time lodgers: Steps to tax success

A tax guide for first-time lodgers: Steps to tax success

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By Reporter
  • June 14 2021
  • Share

The ATO has released a guide for first-time tax lodgers aimed to make the lodgement quick, secure and easy at tax time.

A tax guide for first-time lodgers: Steps to tax success

With the aim to make tax time less daunting for first-timers, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has published some basic steps to help taxpayers get started.

According to Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh, “The best advice for first-time lodgers is to be prepared – whether you choose to use the services of a registered tax agent or lodge your own return.”

  1. Check whether you need to lodge a return

“As a general rule, you’ll need to lodge if you’ve had tax taken out of your pay or earned over $18,200 during the financial year,” Mr Loh said.

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“You’ll need to either lodge your own return or get on the books of a registered tax agent by 31 October. If you lodge yourself, myTax is the way to go. Most people with simple tax affairs can lodge in under half-an-hour, with most refunds received in less than two weeks.”

For those unsure of whether they need to lodge a return, the ATO’s ‘Do I need to lodge’ tool is accessible through the ATO website. 

The ATO does, however, advise those that do not need to lodge to simply let them know by submitting a non-lodgment advice. 

  1. Track down your Tax File Number (TFN)

A TFN is an individual’s personal identifier for tax and superannuation purposes; it’s an important part of your identity.

“It’s yours for life, even if you change your name, job, or where you live. It will stay the same – so it’s important to keep it secure,” Mr Loh said.

“Not sure what your TFN is? You can find it on documents such as super statements or ATO letters. You can also find your TFN in ATO online services accessed through your myGov account.”

Employees provide their TFN, among other details, to their employer when they start work in a TFN declaration – this is used by your employer to determine how much tax to withhold from your pay.

Those that do not have a TFN should apply by filling in a form on the Tax Office’s website and booking an appointment at a participating Australia Post outlet.

“It’s completely free,” Mr Loh said.

  1. Create a myGov account and link it to the ATO

Those lodging a return on their own need to set up a myGov account.

The myGov account opens the door to a range of Australian government services, including the ATO. All that is needed to set one up is a secure email address.

Note that each myGov account must have a different email address.

Once that’s done, your myGov account is ready to be connected using the flexible and secure myGovID app.

“Set yourself up for success by creating your myGov account and linking to the ATO now. When linking, you’ll be prompted to answer two questions, based on records we have,” Mr Loh said.

If the ATO doesn’t have enough information to confirm your identity, all that’s required is a phone call during which the tax authority will issue a unique linking code which can be entered instead of answering the questions.

“If you need to call us, we encourage you to do so now to avoid any delays when you choose to lodge your tax return. We suggest having your identification information, such as your TFN, driver’s licence or Medicare card, ready to go,” Mr Loh said.

“Once you’ve linked to the ATO, you can not only lodge your tax return online, but you can also track your refund, view your super balance, study loan amounts and income statements.”

  1. Lodge your return

“A common mistake we see when people lodge their returns is leaving out important information, such as income from dividends or your private health insurance information, which can slow down your return,” Mr Loh said.

By late July, information from employers, banks, health funds, government agencies and more will automatically be added to your tax return. Those who want to lodge earlier, before this information is ready, are advised to take extra care to add all their income.

“Another mistake we see that can set you back is forgetting to keep receipts for any deductions you want to claim.”

The most common deductions are expenses directly related to earning an income, such as steel-capped boots for construction workers.

For more information, visit ato.gov.au/NewToTax

A tax guide for first-time lodgers: Steps to tax success
A tax guide for first-time lodgers: Steps to tax success
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