Top tips for maximising your tax refund

IT’S time to lodge your tax return.

With 84 per cent of taxpayers expecting a refund, and the average size of refunds last year reaching nearly $3,600, it pays to spend time ensuring you’ve got every detail of your return correct.

Here are H&R Block’s top tips for maximising your refund this year.

 

Claim what you’re entitled to

If you have spent something as part of your work, and you have the paperwork to prove it, claim it.

Among the common deductions many taxpayers claim include:

 

Costs of using your own car for work. This doesn’t include driving to and from work.

Costs of travelling for work. If you are required to work away from home and you spend on meals and accommodation, those costs are often deductible.

Costs of tools and other equipment. Items costing $300 or less are deductible immediately. Items costing more than $300 are deductible over several years. Things you could claim include tools for a tradie, a laptop for an office worker or even a briefcase used to carry work papers.

 

But don’t embellish deductions

You can only claim what you’ve spent.

So, don’t inflate deductions in order to get a bigger refund and only claim for costs you can prove you spent by producing an invoice, receipt or bank statement.

 

Don’t rely on pre-filled data from the ATO

You can pre-fill lots of your income information straight from the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) systems.

Don’t assume that this income data is correct or complete.

Many third parties, such as banks, won’t pass information about you to the ATO until late July or August, so early lodgers who use the ATO’s myTax system will often find lots of data missing from their pre-fill.

If you omit income and get questioned by the ATO, the legal burden will be on you, even though you’ve taken the information straight from the ATO’s systems.

Most tax accountants won’t rely on pre-filled data but will work from your own source documents.

This minimises the chances of missing income data for those who prefer to lodge early.

 

Get help

Get your tax return wrong and the comeback is on you, either with a lower refund or ATO penalties.

Most people (74 per cent of all Australians) find it far less stressful to leave it to an agent to complete their return.

This ensures the return will be accurate and complete, while an experienced agent will usually be good at sniffing out obscure tax deductions you didn’t know you could claim.

Best of all, the tax agent’s fee is deductible.

H&R Block Tasmania has been a family business since 1982 and has 10 offices statewide employing up to 60 staff through the year.

It offers the full range of tax and accounting services for individuals and small business.

H&R Block can be contacted on 13 23 25 or at hrblock.com.au.