Tax time tips & tricks

Sunday, July 05, 2015

We are already half way through 2015, which is exciting but also pretty scary how fast this year has gone by. June 30th was just a couple of days ago and its time now to send away our tax. There are 3 reasons why I can't stand this time of year... firstly, it's winter in Australia. Secondly, I have every bill you can imagine due. And thirdly, trying to do my own tax kills me. So today I am going to do a post on Taxes. From tips and tricks to things to spend your money on. I'm here to help you!

How to do your tax 
You can lodge your own tax online at www.ato.gov.au . Doing your own tax online will probably take you around an hour or two (depending on how much you are claiming). If I could suggest one thing it would be to be organised! The website takes you through step by step but after a certain amount of time- it will take you back to the very start. Or, if you can't remember something, after 3 attempts, the website will block you out for a certain amount of time. 

Last year it honestly took me 3+ hours. I was pulling my hair out. I think I was sent back to the start a couple of times after taking too long to find what I needed to enter on my form, and I was blocked out a number or times for 30 minutes for not remembering my union password... Nothing annoys me more when I don't understand how to do something. Organisation and patience is the key.
You can of course pay $100 or more to a company that will do it for you, but at the end of the day if you are only going to be getting a couple of hundred back, it's not worth the money. 


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Claiming Items
 One of the biggest regrets that we go through is that we can't prove that we purchased the item. Always keep your receipts... Depending on your business, you can claim back a huge range of items, as long as you can prove it. Tradies can claim sunscreen and hookers can claim toys and tissues. Believe it or not, they require it for their job. If you have your own business you can claim paper, stationary, work uniforms, shoes, petrol ect... Claim everything and everything you can, just always keep your receipts.  Here is where you can find the list of items that you can claim: 


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Preparing for next year
So once you have done your 2015 tax... It's only another year away until you will be doing it all again. Whatever you mistakes where from this year where, learn from them. One of the biggest regrets that people have when doing their taxes is that they didn't keep their receipts. There are two things that can help you prepare for next year...

The good ol' shoe box
We all have one tucked away in a closet... Find one, label it and keep it in a place that doesn't take time to throw your receipts in there. The key is whenever you buy something that you can claim, pop it in the shoe box. You can also highlight dates or even the items that you purchased which will make the whole situation a bit more simple. The only downside to using a shoe box is that over time, receipts fade. Make sure it's in a safe place!

One receipt
This app can work wonders for you. I don't need it myself, but I've been it on the news before. All you need to do is take a photo of your receipt and enter it into the app under a certain file name to make it easy to find, e.g. office supplies. And there you go. If you are worried that you might loose your phone and there would be no point, don't be! The app emails you every time you enter a receipt. It's defiantly a easier and neater way to prepare for your tax. And when 2016 rolls by, I'm sure you won't have any regrets. 

Start a folder
Start a folder or box that you will put all your bookwork and receipts in, so year after you, you have all your former information in one area. For businesses, you are supposed to keep all of your files for the last 7 years. As part as being a young adult, I think it's time to start to get your shit together and learn to to file and know what you need to keep or not.

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Spending your tax money
Should I spend my tax, or should I save my tax? That is the question... Shakespeare aside, this is actually a serious question. I have always spent my very little money that I got have from tax as I have my car rego, insurance and green slip due. This year, I'm thinking otherwise. I am in need for a bigger bed and a holiday... But I am also interested in saving it until there is a great sale on. 

Unless you need to spend your money straight away, it's probably a bright idea to have a hard think of what you really need or want. Compile a list of both and leave it to think about it for a few days. If you visit the shops over the next month or two, you will see a lot of people have received their money back and put it straight back into shops. I've done this before and spent all of my money on a couple of items of clothing, and boy did I regret it later. A lot of people see the extra money as a 'bonus'... We should see the money as our own and either save it, put it towards something big, or use it for something that you generally need. 

After another year of lots of hard work, It would also be really nice is you put some money towards a massage or spoil yourself by getting a manicure or hair done. Whatever feels right for you, do it. Just think forward for when your bills are due in a few months or a time when you will need money, if you will need it or not. 


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I hope this helps you, takes away all little bit of stress or even gives you ideas to prepare you for lodging your tax. 

With love, Emily x

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