Before meeting with you to prepare your tax return, you may need to gather certain information that applies to your circumstances for the year. There’s no denying that the ATO’s pre-filling service takes care of a lot of the traditional paperwork, however most of this information is not available until late-July. If you’re happy to wait until then, the ATO’s systems will usually be able to provide information shared by employers, banks, government agencies, health funds and other third parties.
We will then be able to check this information with you and discuss any deductions you may be able to claim. However to be thorough, before coming in for your appointment, below are the sorts of information you should look at bringing with you to assist us in completing your tax return.
- PAYG Payment summaries: These outline the income you have received from your employer during the year.
- Other payment summaries: These may come from your super fund or Centrelink and will outline superannuation lump sums or income streams received as well as government payments.
- Bank statements: Details interest you have earned during the year. You may also be able to access interest details using your online banking account.
- Shares, unit trusts or managed fund statements: Information on dividends or distributions you have received.
- Buy and sell investment statements: Needed to calculate capital gains and losses when you dispose of an investment. You should be able to access this information from your online broking account or investment advisor.
- Rental property records: If you use an agent to manage the property, they should provide you with an annual statement that details income and expenses. Other details to provide will include council rates, water rates, insurance, interest expenses and repairs.
- Private health insurance statement: Information needed to complete the private health insurance section of your tax return.
Income you must declare
- Employment income
- Superannuation income streams, lump sums, annuities and government payments
- Investment income (interest, dividends, rent and capital gains)
- Business, partnership and trust income
- Foreign income
- Income from the sharing economy (Uber and Airbnb)
- Business income
Deductions you may be able to claim
- Vehicle and travel expenses: This does not normally include travel between home and work (unless transporting bulky tools or equipment), but if you use your car for work in different locations, then you may be able to claim a deduction.
- Clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses: For uniform expenses, the clothing must contain a logo or be occupation specific, such as chef’s pants. You may also be able to claim protective workwear such as steel capped boots.
- Gifts and donations: Only contributions made to organisations that are endorsed by the ATO as ‘deductible gift recipients’ (DGRs).
- Home office expenses: Costs may include computer, phone and internet but only the proportion of expenses that relate to work can be claimed.
- Self-education expenses: Providing the study relates to your current job, you may be able to claim course fees, books, stationary, internet, home office expenses and travel.
- Tools and equipment: If you purchase tools or equipment to help you earn your income, you may be able to claim for some of all of the cost.
- Other deductions: Other items you can claim include union fees, costs associated with managing your tax affairs, income protection insurance if paid outside of your super fund, overtime meals and personal superannuation contributions.
This is not an exhaustive list so please check with our office for more ideas.
Expenses that cannot be claimed
While the ATO is focused on helping taxpayers get their deductions right, there are a number expenses that should be avoided when preparing your tax return.
- Travel between home and work.
- Car expenses that have been salary sacrificed, such as a novated lease.
- Meal expenses unless you are required to work away from home overnight.
- Everyday clothing purchases to wear to work, even if your employer requires you to wear them. For example, a suit or black pants.
- Self-education expenses where there is no direct connection to your current employment.
- Phone or internet expenses that are related to you own private use.