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Tax Return Items To Discuss With Your Accountant Before Lodging

Lodging your tax return for the 2021-22 financial year?

As registered tax agents, we are able to assist you with the process of lodgement to ensure your compliance with the requirements of the ATO.

To ensure that your return is correct, here are our top nine key items to be aware of.

COVID-19 Support Payments/Natural Disaster Payments

Did you receive either a COVID-19 support payment or a natural disaster payment from the government to assist you in trying times? You need to check whether or not what you received needs to be included in this year’s return, as there may be different tax treatments depending on the payment (e.g COVID-19 Disaster Payment is not taxable).

COVID-19 Tests

If you are claiming a deduction on Rapid Antigen Tests for work-related purposes, you need to be certain that they are eligible. That is, from 1 July 2021, to claim a deduction for the cost of a COVID-19 test, you must:

  • use the test for a work-related purpose to determine if you can attend or remain at work
  • pay for a qualifying COVID-19 test, being a:
  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test through a private clinic, or
  • test listed in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, including rapid antigen test (RAT) kits
  • pay for the test yourself (that is, your employer doesn’t give you a test or reimburse you for the cost)
  • keep a record to prove that you incurred the cost (usually a receipt).

You can only claim a deduction for the COVID-19 tests you paid for that were used by you to determine whether you may attend or remain at work.

Working From Home Expenses

If claiming work from home expenses in this year’s return, you can calculate it through the temporary shortcut method (all-inclusive), fixed-rate or actual cost methods (as long you meet eligibility & record-keeping requirements of the method that you chose. You also need to make sure that you don’t add additional expenses that are already included when using the temporary shortcut or fixed rate methods.

Record-Keeping

Make sure you have the correct records to back up your deduction claims as no receipts, logbooks or diary entries means no deduction.

Bank Interest

Your bank interest statement is one of the records that the Australian Tax Office uses to pre-fill your return with high-certainty data – however, sometimes this isn’t ready as soon as your return is. This is because it is up to your bank to provide the ATO with this information for their pre-fill service, and some smaller banks may not be able to complete this until after July. As this is high-certainty data, it is data that can cause the ATO to red flag your return for audit purposes if it does not match what their records say if you elect to fill it. If you make changes to any bank interest pre-fill information where there is a certainty indicator, you’ll need to provide a reason for the adjustment.

Crypto & NFT Assets

Don’t get caught out by the ATO by trying to be clever with crypto & NFTs as it is not worth it in the long run.

Any capital gains or losses on disposal of crypto assets (coins, tokens and non-fungible tokens) during the 2021–22 financial year will need to be declared. If you received staking rewards or airdrops, make sure to include these as ordinary income. If you are in the business of trading crypto, income tax will also apply.

Rental Property Income

Did you receive any income from your rental property throughout the financial year? This needs to be reported in their return. This includes income from short-term rental arrangements, insurance payouts and bond money that was retained.

Late Lodgement 

If you have an outstanding tax return due as of 30 June, your tax return due date is 31 October 2022 (if lodging through a tax agent/accountant). If all overdue prior year tax returns are lodged by 31 October, the tax return for the financial year will be due according to the normal lodgement program.

Delayed Lodgement 

If you are lodging your tax return through an accountant and an exceptional or unforeseen situation occurs that impacts the process, don’t panic. Depending on the issues they may face, your accountant may be entitled to a lodgement program deferral or a supported lodgement program. We are able to discuss our options with the ATO to ensure the impact on you is minimised.

When it comes to your tax return, consulting with us is always a recommended course of action. As your trusted advisor, we are the mediators between you and the ATO when it comes to your tax return and any issues that may arise.

If you’re someone who often finds it difficult to make large lump sum payments for goods or services, you may want to consider looking into “Buy Now Pay Later” services.

Buy now pay later essentially means that, rather than paying in a full lump sum payment for a product or services rendered, there may be an option to pay through instalments of a certain amount over a set period to make the sum of the full amount in total. This method should allow you to pay in full for the product or service without overly straining your finances – you pay back what you can, as agreed upon when you begin the buy now pay later service.

Some popular buy now pay later services include Afterpay, Zip Pay, Brightepay, and some credit card networks such as  Mastercard and Visa, can offer buy now pay later arrangements.

Though it can be a convenient, immediate solution, it may be challenging to juggle the necessary repayments with other financial commitments. It’s not always the most appropriate method for people, and you should bear in mind your situation and ability in paying back the amounts. 

Before you sign up, keep in mind: 

  • It becomes easier to overspend with buy now pay later services, so know your limits on what you can and can’t afford.
  • You will be charged fees and costs to use the service, which can add up to a princely sum in and of itself.
  • Keeping track of your payments can be tricky if you’ve signed up for multiple services.
  • It could affect your loan applications for a car or mortgage as lenders consider buy now pay later spending just as much as your credit score.
  • Late repayments can appear on your credit report, which affects your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Layby can be a cheaper alternative to buy now pay later, with no account-keeping or late fees to consider

If you are someone who could make use of BNPL services, you may wish to:

  • Ensure that when using the BNPL service, you stick to a set limit on what you spend so that you can comfortably pay it back later. 
  • Aim only to have one BNPL account at a time to manage payments through, rather than confuse yourself with multiple payments across different providers.
  • Always budget for bills, loan payments and BNPL payments, and 
  • Rather than use your credit card for payments to your BNPL account, consider linking to your debit account instead.

If you would like assistance in planning your financial future, help in managing your budget or some friendly advice, see us for a chat about what we can do for you.

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John Briggs

Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

John Briggs

Registered Building Certifier