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How To Maximise Your Tax Return

Tax season is almost upon us. Get yourself ready early for the best return.

Posted on: June 25, 2017

stack of coins

Now, don’t get too shocked, but believe it or not tax time is almost upon us once again! If you’re an eager beaver and want to get your tax form in straight away, you might want to do your research in advance and have your claim ready to go come July 1. We all lust after a better tax refund, but in many cases we seem to receive only just enough to laydown on a small debt, rather than having enough to pay off your entire vehicle loan! Follow these top tips to maximise your return and see dollar signs return to your bank account.

Think outside the square

Most people are pretty straight and narrow about their tax returns and only claim the most common deductions. You probably don’t even realise what else you could be missing. Throughout the year, it is best to keep notes of what you have spent your money on along with the corresponding receipts. That way, you don’t miss that charity donation from August come July the following year – it sounds cliché, but every bit counts when it comes to your tax return!

It’s also important to browse through the free information the ATO has on offer for taxpayers. There are more than 40 industries covered that highlight occupations and the deductions you could possibly claim. It’s terribly helpful for a first timer as well.

Focus on deductions related to work

I know it sounds boring, but tax returns are meant to be boring. You will be surprised that you will get the most bang for your buck with work related deductions. It kinda makes sense that you should get the most amount of money back on things spent on work, which is where you get your income. It’s handy to understand general work-related deductions such as income protection insurance premiums, work-related travel, magazine subscriptions, professional memberships and work-related assets including iPads, mobile phones, calculators and laptops. Just ensure that these expenses are directly relevant to your job, or you’d be lying to the taxman.

The small stuff adds up

You may just throw around $10 here or there for a textbook or some stationery, but if you continuously do this throughout a 12 month period, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars. All of that could potentially be claimable. A $30 donation to your charity of choice once of month is also tax deductible. Again, it may not seem like much, but it adds up over time to be a great deduction (also you’re doing something good for a cause).

By keeping your receipts for the small stuff and not just the big-ticket items you spend your money on could pay off in the long run and maximise your tax return.

In the wise words of Mark Bouris, Executive Chairman of wealth management and advice firm Yellow Brick Road, “get in the habit of filing receipts and invoices, and perhaps keep a running tally of your deductible expenses.”

Seek expert advice

If all else fails and you are seeing a payback figure rather than a return, it’s probably best to seek advice from a professional tax accountant. They will be able to think outside the box for you and find the best way to maximise your spending as claims. Ultimately, however, it is up to you to create a cost-benefit analysis and weigh up whether the fee for the accountant will be worth it to see a return.

Now you’ve got your game plan set, you just have to lodge and hopefully wait for a deposit in your account from your return. Seeing those dollars climb will put a smile on your dial and maybe even a dent in your debts should you choose to put it towards that.

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