Now is a great time to make your tax-time appointment with your tax agent, says CPA Australia’s head of External Affairs, Paul Drum.
“This year’s tax time has been a little different from previous years, with the rollout of Single Touch Payroll for employers, and the introduction of income statements for employees – instead of the more familiar payment summaries or group certificates,” he says.
“The ATO has reported that 98 percent of all payroll records are now finalised, and that dividend and interest data should be ready by the end of this month. All private health insurance data has also now been matched, which is welcome news in the first year that statements are not required to be sent to policy holders.
“With income statements now ‘tax ready’ and tax time pre-fill information nearly fully available, CPA Australia encourages you to make your tax agent appointment now.
“More than 70 percent of Australian individuals lodge via a tax agent each year, and a good tax agent will help ensure that you claim everything to which you are legally entitled, while keeping you on the right side of the ATO.
“With an increased ATO focus on work-related expense claims, it has never been more important to get it right,” Drum says.
“The ATO has advised it is checking many more tax returns this year, and its most recent list of dodgy deductions includes LEGO, weddings, family trips and school fees. The ATO has also warned that it may seek information from your employer to check if you’ve been reimbursed for your claims, and taxpayers have been denied tax deductions for items that are not allowable.
“Life is busy enough without thinking about tax all the time, and for many of us convenience is key – and a tax agent can provide this,” he says. “An added benefit of using a tax agent is that they will have all your pre-fill data on their systems – meaning that unlike self-preparers, you don’t need to worry about going through your myGov account.
“If you use the ATO’s myDeductions app, you can even upload all your information into the ATO’s system for your tax agent to include in your tax return.
“Tax agents help you navigate our complex tax system and guide you on keeping the right records. They can help you calculate capital gains tax on your cryptocurrency holdings, or determine whether that income from your side gigs is assessable. Hint: earning $15,000 in sponsorship and benefits from your Instagram account is most likely to come with some income tax consequences,” Drum says.
Drum also warns that those who have lodged early to claim the low and middle income tax offset may find that the ATO gets in touch with them if their tax return doesn’t match the information they hold. Alternatively, a visit to a tax agent may uncover some additional deductions that should have been included.
Image: 123RF’s rawpixel © 123RF.com