27 September 2023

Taxing times: The importance of keeping receipts in order

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Sophie Elsworth and Anthony Keane* say it’s time to get your tax return paperwork organised.

Photo: Christa Dodoo

Many Australians have failed to tuck away their receipts, leaving them with a mad dash to get organised ahead of tax time.

New data suggests many are flying blind.

Research commissioned by accounting software firm MYOB found that 46 per cent of people haven’t bothered to file their receipts.

It found that the younger we are, the less organised we are with our tax.

Among people aged 55 and over, 67 per cent stored their receipts during the year, compared with 49 per cent of those aged 25 to 34.

MYOB General Manager of Partners, Blake Collins said: “It’s not too late to get organised.”

“You have until October to submit your 2018–19 tax return, so if people haven’t actually got their receipts sorted yet, now is the time to do it,” he said.

“It’s important you do your research.”

“Go to the ATO [Australian Taxation Office] website regarding what is tax-deductible.”

The research found that 57 per cent of people engage an accountant or tax agent.

H&R Block’s Director of Tax Communications, Mark Chapman said there were easy ways to find a good agent.

“The best way is through word of mouth — speak to your family and friends and find out who they use,” he said.

“If you don’t have that sort of network, take a look at the Tax Practitioners website and you will see all the registered tax agents and you can choose one that is local to you.”

“But a referral is always best because if you have someone who is satisfied with their tax agent then you may be too.”

The cost of using a tax professional is tax-deductible.

The most pressing issue for taxpayers is to sort out their tax-deductible spending, donations, superannuation issues and health insurance.

Financial strategist Theo Marinis said personal tax-deductible super contributions must be received and banked before 30 June.

“Most funds have a cut-off date before June 30,” he said.

It’s a busy time for health insurance, too, and iSelect spokeswoman Laura Crowden said people aged under 31 should think about taking out hospital cover “to avoid being stung with higher premiums later in life due to the Lifetime Health Cover loading”.

* Sophie Elsworth is national personal finance writer at News Corp. She tweets at @sophieelsworth. Anthony Keane is personal finance editor at News Corp Australia. He tweets at @keanemoney.

This article first appeared at www.news.com.au

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