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Tax time 2024: How to boost your tax return (legally)

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Finder's expert tips for making the most of your tax return in 2024

As we head into tax time, many Australians are eagerly anticipating their refunds, particularly amidst the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Our latest research at Finder reveals that over 9 million Aussies expect a refund this year, with one in ten admitting it's "critical" to their financial wellbeing, and one quarter feeling the refund is very important to their financial wellbeing.

With our cost-of-living pressure gauge currently sitting at an extreme 77%, it's clear that many households are feeling the pinch. The rising costs of housing, energy, petrol, and groceries are major contributors to this financial strain, making it more important than ever to maximise your tax return this year.

That's why we've put together this guide to help you get the most out of your tax return in 2024. By following some simple steps, you can maximise your return, and make the process of filing your taxes easier.

Claim all eligible deductions: Don't miss out on any potential deductions like:

  • Vehicle and travel expenses: Costs incurred for work-related travel, including car expenses, public transport fares, and airfares.
  • Clothing and laundry: The cost of uniforms, protective clothing, and the laundry of these items.
  • Home office expenses: If you work from home, you may be able to claim a portion of your rent, mortgage interest, utilities, and internet expenses.
  • Self-education expenses: Costs related to courses or training that relate to your current employment.
  • Other deductions: Union fees, professional subscriptions, and tools and equipment required for work.

Understand tax offsets: Tax offsets can directly reduce your tax bill. Be sure to familiarise yourself with common offsets like:

  • Private Health Insurance Offset: If you have private health insurance, you may be eligible for this offset, which can vary depending on your income and age.
  • Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset: If you're a senior or pensioner, you may be eligible for this offset.
  • Zone Tax Offset: This offset is available for individuals living or working in remote areas of Australia.

Other Offsets: Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for other offsets like the Medical Expenses Tax Offset.

Keep simple records: Ensure you have receipts, invoices, and bank statements to support your claims. If possible, create a digital document at the start of the tax year, and drop notes in as you progress through the year relating to expenses that could be tax deductible, like charity donations or work purchases. This will make it easier to substantiate your deductions if the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requests proof.

Prepay expenses: If you anticipate a higher income in the next financial year, consider prepaying some deductible expenses before June 30th. This can help reduce your taxable income in the current year.

Seek professional advice: If your tax affairs are complex or you're unsure about claiming certain deductions, consider consulting a registered tax agent. They can provide personalised advice and ensure you're getting the most out of your return, and the cost can be offset against the taxes you pay.

By following these tips and staying informed, you can maximise your tax return this year and hopefully alleviate some of the financial pressure caused by the rising cost of living. Remember, tax laws and regulations can change, so always refer to the official ATO website or consult a tax professional for the latest information. If you do get a solid tax refund, it's a good idea to drop into one of Australia's highest interest savings accounts while you decide what to do with it.

Finder's Insights Column examines issues affecting the Australian consumer. It appears weekly on

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