If you have never lodged a tax return before, and lodging tax return soon, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has some advice to help make the process as easy as possible. The best advice for first-time lodgers is to be prepared and that means to determine whether you choose to use the services of a registered tax agent or for you to lodge the tax return on your own.

Here are some important tips to help you prepare to lodge your first ever tax return.

Determine If You Need To Be Lodging Tax Return

If you have earned anywhere over $18,200 during the financial year, or had tax taken out of your pay you are required to lodge a tax return.

This means that you will need to need to either lodge your own return or get it completed with the help of a registered tax agent by 31st October.

Australian taxpayers doing it themselves can go through the ATO platform, myTax, which is accessed through myGov and is free of charge.

If you have straightforward tax affairs, the process of lodging will be done within half an hour, and you’ll get your refunds within under a fortnight.

Find Your Tax File Number (TFN)

You will need to have a Tax File Number (TFN) for all your tax and superannuation-related matters, so make sure to track this number down.

Your TFN belongs to you for life, even if you change your name, job, or where you live. It will stay the same and therefore it is super important you keep it safe and secure.

If you can’t find your TFN, have a look at your superannuation statements or any letters from the ATO. You can also find your TFN in ATO online services which can be accessed via your myGov account.

You would have also provided your TFN to your boss, too, when you started your current position of employment.

If you don’t have a TFN yet you can obtain one by filling out a form that is located on the ATO’s website.

Create a myGov Account and Link It To The ATO

First-time tax lodgers and people doing their tax returns themselves can lodge them via myTax but this means you do need to create a myGov account to complete this process.

myGov acts like a portal to several other government services, including Centrelink and the ATO so it’s not only important to set this account up, but to keep it safe as well.

It is vital that you don’t share your login details with anyone. You must protect your myGov account and treat it as if it was your bank account.

To prepare for tax time, create a myGov account now and link it to the ATO, at which point you will be asked to answer two security questions.

If you need to call us, we encourage you to do so now to avoid any delays when you choose to lodge your tax return. We suggest having your identification information, such as your TFN, Medicare card or driver’s licence, ready to go.

Once your ATO account is set up, you will be able to track any tax return refunds, see your superannuation balance, income statements, amongst other things.

Lodging Your Tax Return

When lodging tax return, it must include all the relevant information; this includes things like private health insurance information or income from dividends or shares.

Last month the ATO warned Australians against lodging their tax returns too early, as employers may take a few weeks to prepare their employees’ income information.

Most of the information you need from your employer, banks, health funds, government agencies and other organisations in order to lodge a tax return will be ready in around late July.

This means that if you lodge your tax return on your own before this, you have to take “extra care”, the ATO warns.

Another mistake we see that can set you back is situations where taxpayers have forgotten to keep receipts for any deductions they want to claim.