Tax­ing time is here

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­THONY KEANE

GROUP cer­tifi­cates are be­ing handed out to mil­lions of Aus­tralians and our thoughts are turn­ing to tax re­funds.

The av­er­age tax­payer can ex­pect to get more than $ 2000 back, but be­fore think­ing about how to spend that money, the big ques­tion is how do you do your tax? More than 20 per cent of us do it our­selves, while the rest use tax agents and ac­coun­tants. The new­est player on the tax block, MyTax was launched last year and is a free and sim­ple online op­tion for peo­ple with ba­sic tax af­fairs. The ATO pre- fills your per­sonal de­tails and data such as wages, in­ter­est in­come and share div­i­dends.

Visit ato. gov. au for more de­tails. ETax is the more com­plex big sis­ter of MyTax and is also free, rel­a­tively sim­ple to use and you can get your data pre- filled by the ATO.

Adrian Raftery, a se­nior lec­turer in tax and fi­nan­cial plan­ning at Deakin Univer­sity, says DIY tax through ETax, MyTax or the old pa­per re­turns are gen­er­ally not suited to peo­ple with cap­i­tal gains tax events, rental prop­er­ties, man­aged funds and small busi­nesses. The bulk of the na­tion’s tax re­turns are pre­pared by reg­is­tered tax agents, who typ­i­cally charge $ 100 to $ 150 for a ba­sic re­turn.

Make sure you keep re­ceipts and other pa­per­work, as they can’t claim de­duc­tions that can­not be proved. Ac­coun­tants can cost be­tween sev­eral hun­dred and sev­eral thou­sands of dol­lars to do your tax re­turn, depend­ing on its com­plex­ity.

Max­i­mum Wealth Ad­vis­ers part­ner Gianni La Scala says it will al­ways pay to seek some ad­vice, as that small cost could save you a con­sid­er­able amount.

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