Filing your tax return can be a daunting task, especially if you're not sure what to do. To help take the stress out of lodging your return, we’ve created a list of five things you should do before lodging. By following these tips, you'll make the process a lot easier and ensure that your return is processed as quickly as possible.
And remember, this guide is not intended to be official tax advice, so make sure you always contact your tax professional or the ATO for advice and support.
Step 1: Get your documents ready
If you're lodging your tax return for the first time, or if you've changed jobs during the financial year, it's important to make sure that you have all the necessary documents, this can include:
- The bank details where you want your refund deposited
- Your income statement or payment summaries from all of your employers.
- Any payment summaries from Centrelink
- If you have a spouse, you will need to know their income
- If you have private health insurance, you’ll need to include these details.
Step 2: Work out your expenses
If you want to claim any work-related expenses as deductions, you’ll need to make sure you have all your receipts. If you are unsure what you can claim, you can contact the ATO or a registered tax agent.
Step 3: Prepare your return
Once you've gathered all your documents, it's time to start filling out your return. The ATO has a handy online tool called myTax that can help make the process easier. If you prefer to do things manually, you can download a PDF version of the form from the ATO website.
Step 4: Check your calculations
This is an important step, as even a small mistake can delay the processing of your return. If you're using myTax, the software will do the calculations for you. However, if you're doing it manually, it's a good idea to double-check your work with a tax calculator or by speaking to a registered tax agent.
Step 5: Lodge early
Because the ATO uses a first-in, first-served basis when processing returns. So, if you lodge early, you're more likely to get your refund sooner. You can lodge your return online, with a tax agent or using a paper tax return.
After you have lodged your return
Once your return has been processed, the ATO will send you a notice of assessment outlining how much tax you owe or how much of a refund you're entitled to.
It’s easy to check the status of your tax return if you have a MyGov account linked to the ATO. If you don’t have a MyGov account you can phone the ATO by phone to get an update on your status.
If you have any questions about lodging your tax return, the ATO website has a wealth of resources to help, or you can speak to a registered tax agent.
By following these simple tips, lodging your tax return will be a breeze!
So, what are you waiting for? Start preparing now!