Tax return deadline looming: 5 tips to boost your return now
You have less than a week to lodge your tax return ahead of the 31 October deadline. We spoke to a tax expert so you know how to maximise your return.
The deadline to lodge your 2021/2022 tax return online by yourself via myGov is on 31 October. However, you have until 15 May if you are lodging with a tax agent.
Make sure you register with a tax agent by 31 October.
What happens if I miss the deadline?
Finder spoke with Elinor Kasapidis, senior manager of tax policy at CPA Australia, who said not to panic if you've missed the deadline. "The ATO usually takes your circumstances into consideration and generally won't apply penalties if this is your only late lodgment," she said.
If you're seeing this after 31 October, it's still recommended you lodge your tax return as soon as possible either online or via a tax agent. The ATO could penalise you $222 for each month that you're late. However, you'll be given a warning first to give you a chance to lodge.
5 tips to boost your return
1. Don't rely on pre-filled data from the ATO
The pre-filled data is a great starting point but the ATO can often miss out on items you can claim. Banks can also give details to the ATO which are out of date and not valid for the financial year, so you need to check that all the details are correct before submitting your return.
These details are used to help calculate how much tax you'll get back, so if they're not accurate you could be left with a smaller return than what you're entitled to.
2. Claim your work-from-home expenses
If you worked from home throughout the 2021/2022 financial year, you would be happy to know you can claim your home office running expenses on tax. This also includes home energy and internet bills.
The amount you can claim is 80 cents per hour that you worked from home during the financial year. However, make sure you're not overclaiming any work-from-home deductions as the ATO has said this will be on its radar this year.
3. Remember to have proof of purchase and keep your receipts
If your total claim is equal to or more than $300, you must have evidence to support it all, not only for the amount in excess of $300. Those records should be kept for a minimum of 5 years after the tax form has been lodged.
Keeping track of your purchases as you go means you're not going to forget any at tax time. The more records you keep, the more you can claim and the bigger your refund will be.
"Diaries, receipts or bank statements can be used to prove various claims. If you can't prove it, you can't claim it," Kasapidis added.
4. Don't forget to claim charity donations
If you make regular contributions to charity, you may be able to claim something back.
There are some conditions to claiming charity donations. You must have proof of these payments and the organisation must have a deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.
You can also claim up to $10 worth of charity bucket donations without a receipt.
5. Consider using a tax agent
Tax agents can help maximise your return and ensure you're correctly claiming everything you're entitled to. Plus, the fee to use a tax agent is tax-deductible, as are any travel costs to get to their office.
"A tax agent can benefit you in the long term by providing you guidance around record-keeping for future tax years," Kasapidis said.