2018 EoFY: The top four mistakes people make on their tax returns
The end of financial year is coming up which means it’s time to claim back tax. Here are five things to keep in mind when lodging any tax return.
- Claiming a deduction when you didn’t spend the money
Perhaps there’s been things said where someone can claim $50 for work-related phone and internet expenses without written evidence? Or maybe they’ve been told you can claim up to $150 for laundry without having to keep records? While these statements are true, you must have actually spent the money. This is on the ATO’s radar, so if an auditor comes along, visual proof of how the expenditure was calculated in relation to earning an income will need to be shown.
Each individual is responsible for the claims made in a tax return so make sure you it can be demonstrated that the money was actually spent.
- Claiming a deduction for private expenses
It is not possible to claim a deduction for a private expense. However, if there is an expense that has both a private and work-related component, the work-related portion can be claimed. For example, if a personal mobile phone is used for work-related calls, the percentage that relates to work use needs to be figured out, and only claim a deduction for that portion.
- Forgetting to declare all your income
Most people who forget to declare all their income in their tax return lodge before pre-fill is available in August. Pre-fill automatically inputs most of your information from your employers, financial institutions and government agencies. Just check the details are correct and add any missing information. If you’re lodging before pre-fill is available make sure you include all your income to avoid penalties.
- Not having records to prove claims
Any documents relevant to your tax affairs need to be kept for five years after a tax return is lodged. The ATO may ask to substantiate any claims – even after the tax return is processed – so be prepared to show them what they need to prevent any hassles.
Evidence must be shown to prove all claims. The ATO has an app that lets users keep track of work-related expenses on the go and then allows upload them to a tax return or tax agent at tax time. Check out ato.gov.au/myDeductions