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How do I prepare for a tax return?

  • November 20 2019
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How do I prepare for a tax return?

By Louise Chan
November 20 2019

When the financial year ends on 30 June of each year, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) expects all Australian residents for tax purposes to lodge their tax returns and pay their taxes.

how do i prepare for a tax return

How do I prepare for a tax return?

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  • November 20 2019
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When the financial year ends on 30 June of each year, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) expects all Australian residents for tax purposes to lodge their tax returns and pay their taxes.

how do i prepare for a tax return

What do I need to prepare?

You need to prepare forms, documents and receipts to complete your tax return faster.

Income statements or summaries and invoices
All your income for the financial year should be declared.

This includes salary from full-time employment, freelance and side hustle income, as well as Centrelink and other government payments.

Fund, trust or portfolio statements
Your income or profits from investments may be taxable. Make sure to include information on dividends, distributions and interest income you received.

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Buy and sell statements
If you purchased or sold capital assets within the financial year, you need to declare its purchase and selling price in order to compute for capital gains tax or capital loss.

Foreign income
You also need to declare any income you receive from foreign sources, regardless if the sources are investment assets or foreign government pension.

Rental property records
If you own a rental property, you need to prepare all documents that show your income and expenses derived from the property.

Accomplished tax form
Decide how you will lodge your tax return: online, paper or through an agent. Once decided, fill in the necessary information and lodge your tax return through your preferred means.

  • Online lodgment
    If you choose online lodgment, you need to create a myGov account and link it to the ATO. Then provide the required information and prove your identity by providing your tax file number.

    Note that the ATO pre-fills the information on online forms by a certain date, which means all you need to do is review and confirm that the information is correct. Watch out for ATO announcements on when pre-filled forms will be available.

  • Paper tax return
    If you want to lodge manually, you may download a copy of the most recent tax return for individuals form and fill in the required information.

    Once you’re sure you’ve accomplished all the necessary forms, you may mail them to ATO and wait for advice on what to do next and whether you have tax payables.

  • Lodge with a tax agent
    Alternatively, you may hire a registered tax agent to prepare and file your taxes on your behalf.

What can I claim?

You may claim offsets and deduction on eligible expenses. Some examples are:

Super contributions 
Concessional and non-concessional superannuation contributions and spouse contributions are deductible as long as they fall within the contributions cap. 

Work-related expenses

  • vehicle and travel expenses for work-related duties
  • laundry and dry cleaning expenses for specialised work-related clothing
  • overtime meals
  • tools and equipment for work use
  • work-related self-education expenses (i.e. seminar fees) that were not reimbursed

Donations
Any monetary or property contributions or donations may be deducted as long as it was given to accredited deductible gift recipients and was given completely voluntarily.

For more information on ATO-allowed deductions, see “Legal ways to reduce tax payable”.

What happens if I owe the ATO money?

The ATO will review your tax return and determine if you have any tax payable for the year.

If the ATO determines that you owe them money, they Tax Office will contact you and inform you of the assessment and how much you need to pay.

You will be given enough time to make your payment.

What happens if I don't do a tax return?

Lodging your tax return is mandatory. If you forget or refuse to lodge your tax return for the income year, expect to receive communication from the ATO and a penalty for late lodgment.

If you think you don’t need to lodge a tax return due to low income, you still need to secure a non-lodgment advice form and submit it to the ATO. This form will ensure that the ATO knows you’re not simply evading your tax responsibility.


Explore nestegg for more information about taxes.

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About the author

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Louise is a content producer for Momentum Media’s nestegg who likes keeping up-to-date with all the ways people can work towards financial stability in 2019. She also enjoys turning complex information into easy-to-digest, practical tips to help those who want to achieve financial independence.

About the author

Louise is a content producer for Momentum Media’s nestegg who likes keeping up-to-date with all the ways people can work towards financial stability in 2019. She also enjoys turning complex information into easy-to-digest, practical tips to help those who want to achieve financial independence.

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