Help! I need somebody (to help me with my tax return).
It’s tax time and finder.com.au is here to help you make it through to the other side. Read on for our full guide on what to do if you need a little help.
What is the tax help program?
The tax help program is a service provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) designed to help with their tax returns, free of charge. Tax help is a community of volunteers who provide expertise and advice for those trying to complete their tax returns themselves. The volunteers don’t actually work for the ATO, but are given full training and support.
Tax Help is designed especially to help people on low incomes or people who would describe themselves as:
- People from non-English speaking backgrounds
- People with a disability
- Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
Though they can help others too. The program is only really able to help those filling out straightforward returns, so if you’re filing on behalf of a business, trust or corporation, if your return has many complications, they may refer you to a professional tax service.Back to top
Choosing a tax agent
Who can help me file my tax return?
There are basically two ways that you can file your tax return, you can do it yourself or you can pay someone to do it. The tax industry is complicated and affects everyone, so it should come as no surprise to you that there is a booming market for qualified professional services that offer help in return for a fee. There are many companies in Australia who provide tax services, and we’ve tried to help you find one by previewing some of the larger companies. You should find the providers listed on the left hand side of this page, but we’ve also linked them below, so you can have a look through and find a service that works for you.
How do I use a registered tax agent?
If you decide to use a tax service, then you’ve just decided to make tax season a lot easier. The tax services are designed to make things simple for you, so using their service is often a matter of a few steps.
1) Find a tax agent that suits you. We’ve provided full guides of some of the largest tax services available in Australia, so if you’re not sure what you’re looking for have a look through out previews to find the agent that suits your needs.
2) Contact the agent to discuss your return. An informal discussion will come first. You’ll want to ensure that your service is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). This is the legal register of companies that are allowed to provide tax help, if they’re not registered, then they’re operating illegally and should be well avoided. You’ll also want to discuss the fees that they will charge and get an idea of what information they will need from you to ensure that your return is processed swiftly and easily.
3) Begin gathering your financial information. When you’ve agreed to terms with your tax service provider, you will need to start getting your financial statements together. This means you’ll need all your payslips, details about your superannuation, any receipts or bills that you’re claiming as a deduction. If you’re not sure what you’ll need, it’s usually best to bring just about everything and then let your tax advisor decide what is useful and what is not.
4) Pay for your service, hand over your information and go on with your life. Congratulations, you’ve just survived tax season, and it has probably never been easier. Remember, the beauty of paying someone to do your taxes is that you don’t have to do your taxes yourself.
DISCLAIMER: Many of the comments in this article are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information applicability to their own particular circumstances.