Tax time can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for many Australians. Every year, the days leading up to filing individual tax returns are often filled with dread and uncertainty, not knowing exactly what to expect from the process or how much money you’ll get back.
The process of filing individual tax returns in Australia is complicated and can be especially daunting for those unfamiliar with paperwork and their finances. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has made it slightly more accessible by providing online forms and services, but their processes require taxpayers to have some knowledge of taxes, deductions, credits and other related concepts.
It is crucial to start preparing your tax return early each year, so you have enough time to gather all necessary documents, such as pay slips, receipts and bank statements. Knowing which documents will be required ahead of time can make it easier to start gathering them instead of trying to locate them when it’s too late.
So, in this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of the essential information and documents required when filing tax returns in Australia, as well as some tips on how best to ensure accuracy and efficiency during the process.
What are the Requirements to Lodge a Tax Return?
To lodge a tax return, you must provide certain documents to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) that verify your income. But first, you need to have your Tax File Number (TFN) ready.
What is a Tax File Number?
A Tax File Number (TFN) is a unique nine-digit number issued to Australian taxpayers by the ATO. It is used for many purposes, including tracking your tax information and assisting with lodging your tax return online.
Applying for a TFN is free; in most cases, it can be done online or through the mail. To apply online, you must visit the ATO website and create an account. You will then need to provide personal information, such as your name, date of birth, address and citizenship status.
If you’re applying by mail, you’ll need to download and complete the relevant application form from the ATO website before sending it in. In either case, you may also need to provide proof of identity documents such as a passport or driver’s licence.
Once the ATO receives, approves and processes your application, it can take up to 28 days for your TFN to arrive in the mail. Therefore, you must always keep this number safe and confidential because it could potentially be used for fraudulent activities if accessed by someone else.
For more information about how to apply for a TFN or what documents are required, please visit the ATO website or contact them directly via phone or email.
Tax Return Checklist: Other Important Information You Need to Lodge Your Tax Return
Besides having your TFN handy, there are a few other important bits of information you’ll need to get to submit your annual tax return. This includes details about all your income earned throughout the year, such as:
- Salary or wages
- Interest on bank accounts
- Rental income
- Investment income
- Capital gains
- Foreign income
There are various documents you can use to prove your income, including:
- Payment summaries
- Annual bank statements
- Dividend statements
- Any documentary evidence of foreign income
- Annual share reports
- Annual statements from managed funds
You’ll also need to provide your bank account details so that the ATO can process your tax refund.
Additionally, you will need to provide specific types of evidence for any claims for deductions made on your return, such as receipts for deductible expenses, so that the ATO can validate them and process your tax refund.
- Insurance premium details. such as income protection insurance
- Expense receipts and logbooks for vehicles that you use for work
- Receipts for all work-related expenses such as travel expenses, equipment, occupation-specific clothing, uniforms and education
- Evidence of charitable donations
- Accountant fees
If you own an investment property, you can claim a wide range of tax deductions for expenses such as:
- Property management
- Rates and taxes
- Interest on your mortgage
- Quantity surveyor fees
- Tax depreciation
You should consult an accountant about tax deductions to ensure that you take full advantage of essential savings opportunities.
Tax Return FAQs
Q: How Do I Know If I Need to File a Tax Return in Australia?
Generally, you will need to lodge a tax return if you are an Australian resident for tax purposes and earn more than the tax-free threshold of $18,200.
Q: What is the Deadline For Lodging a Tax Return?
The due date for lodging your individual Australian Tax Return is 31 October each year. You can submit a request for an extension through the ATO’s website or over the phone if additional time is needed. Taxpayers who use an accountant or registered agent may have different deadlines depending upon their arrangements with their advisor, and it’s best to check with them regarding this issue.
Q: Can You Lodge an Online Tax Return?
You can lodge your own personal income tax return with the ATO online using myTax. It is an easy way to electronically submit your annual income and expenses. You will need to register with the MyGov website before accessing myTax. Once registered, follow the steps provided by myTax, which include determining which deductions apply to your situation and entering all relevant information into the system.
Q: Why Should I Lodge my Tax Return with a Registered Tax Agent from KNS Accountants and Business Advisors?
KNS Accountants and Business Advisors are one of Australia’s leading business advisors specialising in providing comprehensive advice on taxation matters. We have extensive knowledge of various tax issues enabling us to provide clients with tailored solutions that help minimise their overall taxable income while complying with all relevant laws and regulations.
Our experienced professionals are available to assist clients from beginning to end throughout their entire process, including preparing returns, managing payments, arranging refunds, providing advice on eligibility for deductions and offering strategic planning guidance for future years.
Filing individual tax returns in Australia can be easy provided one has all relevant information and understands the requirements clearly before proceeding with lodgement.
Keeping organised records throughout the year and providing adequate evidence upon submitting your return form will help ensure that you receive your entitlement while minimising any potential issues down the line.
If you would like to know more about the services we offer at KNS, contact us today.