5 Steps to a Quick & Easy Tax Return

Martin Spiers - Thursday, October 05, 2017

Jasmin Blanch 

As another financial year has come to a close, getting your tax return lodged may be on your mind. While it can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task, these 5 simple steps can make the process much easier. 

1.      Keep all your tax paperwork in the one place at home. A great idea is to buy a folder dedicated just to keeping your tax documents, and divide it into financial years. Then, throughout the year, make sure every single statement, receipt, and invoice that is relevant to your tax return gets filed away appropriately. This is the key to making sure no tax deduction is forgotten, and hopefully boosting your refund.

2.      If you have a large amount of information to give your accountant, consider summarising it all in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Excel is a fantastic and easy to use tool that most people already have on their computers. Simply punch in the numbers, descriptions, and any relevant dates and email the file straight to your accountant. Not only will they be able to process your tax return faster, but you will also have a better idea of what to expect after seeing your yearly income and deductions on the one screen.

3.      If you can’t remember exactly what your accountant needs to prepare your tax return, a great starting place is your return from the previous year. By having last year’s return sitting beside you while you gather your information, you can check off all the necessary items that you know your accountant will ask for.

4.      At H & M, we also send out a letter and checklist to our clients at the end of every financial year to help you with your tax return. By having a quick read of the letter, you can make yourself aware of any new changes that may affect you and your tax. Completing the checklist every year also ensures that you know what general information is required for a tax return. This is particularly important if there are any changes in your financial position during the year, such as the buying and selling of shares, as these one-off events can sometimes be forgotten.

5.      Ask your accountant for electronic communications. This means that your tax return and all other correspondence can be emailed to you, and once you email back a signed copy, it can be lodged with the ATO that very day. That means no waiting around for the post, and your refund is on its way to you even sooner.

Hopefully these 5 steps make your tax season easier to navigate, but if you have any more questions, our team at H & M Accountants is more than happy to help!