As we get closer to the end of the financial year, tax time is again around the corner, right now is the time to take steps to get your tax affairs in order and look at any last-minute planning to maximize your return. Here are some tips to help get the most out of your return.

Check your paperwork

Make sure you gather together all the information you will need to assist with preparing your tax returns before tax time. This includes; invoices and receipts for work-related expenses and any bank or credit card statements that contain items of work-related expenses that you no longer have or never had receipts or invoices for.

If you are unsure if any item is claimable, collect together the invoice or receipt anyway and discuss it with your tax agent. It is important to remember that if you don’t have the paperwork, you can’t claim a deduction so it makes sense to set aside some time prior to the end of the financial year to spare yourself a stressful document hunt whilst you’re actually in the process of getting your return prepared.

On top of this, if you are claiming any expenses that have a work-related element and a private element for example; the use of a personal mobile phone set some time aside to work out what a reasonable apportionment is for the work-related bit.

Ask for Help

74 percent of Australians use a tax accountant to help prepare their tax return especially when tax time is looming. Tax is complicated and getting your tax return wrong and the comeback is on you, either with a lower refund or ATO penalties.

The majority of people find it far less stressful to simply pass on all their information to a tax accountant and leave it to the accountant to complete their return, safe in the knowledge that the return will be accurate and complete.

A highly experienced tax agent will usually be good at sniffing out those obscure tax deductions you probably didn’t know you could claim so they can often pay for themselves several times over. The most exciting thing is, the tax agent’s fee is also tax deductible.

Do Some Last-Minute Planning

If you have any professional subscriptions or union fees due, if you pay by the 30th June and you can claim the deduction for the whole amount this year. Charitable donations are also tax deductible anything over $2, with a receipt, paid to a charity registered as a deductible gift recipient will be deductible.

If you have some spare cash, consider making a personal contribution into your super fund. Provided the total amount of your contributions including the contributions made on your behalf by your employer does not exceed $25,000, this can be a great way to boost your retirement savings and claim a tax deduction for the personal contribution. The payment must be made by June 30th and you need to advise your super fund that you’ve made the payment by the time you lodge your return.

If you use a bag for work, to carry papers or a laptop perhaps, you can claim a tax deduction for the cost. That could include a briefcase, a backpack or a handbag, whatever suits your needs.