Digital shoe­boxes speed up tax re­turns

The Western Star - - Money Saver - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

TENS of thou­sands of Aus­tralians are do­ing away with tuck­ing their re­ceipts into a shoe­box and in­stead are opt­ing to store them dig­i­tally.

This is help­ing speed up fil­ing tax re­turns be­cause all the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion is al­ready up­loaded to one place.

The digital shoe­box is boom­ing in pop­u­lar­ity. Aus­tralian Tax­a­tion Of­fice fig­ures found that in the first two weeks of July, about 25,600 Aus­tralians up­loaded their de­duc­tion in­for­ma­tion us­ing the ATO’s app.

The myDe­duc­tions tab on the app can be used to take pho­tos of re­ceipts and note rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to ex­penses.

ATO as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Karen Foat said it had made it eas­ier than ever to keep tax in­for­ma­tion in one place and re­move the worry of mis­plac­ing pa­per­work.

“On the app you can store a photo of the re­ceipt and de­tails of the de­duc­tion you want to claim,” she said.

“You don’t have to go into your re­turn and up­load all the de­duc­tion de­tails in your tax re­turn. If you are us­ing the myDe­duc­tions app you can sync all that in­for­ma­tion up and that will be in your re­turn for you.”

Ms Foat said it was a great place to store all your re­ceipts in case the ATO “comes knock­ing”.

“The (tra­di­tional) shoe­box is a re­ally dan­ger­ous way of keep­ing all your records. Re­ceipts fade, and it’s pretty easy while you are on the go through­out the year to snap a photo of that re­ceipt and store it some­where more se­cure,” she said.

The Tax In­sti­tute’s tax coun­sel, Stephanie Care­des, said stor­ing re­ceipts dig­i­tally was the equiv­a­lent to hav­ing a “21st cen­tury digital shoe­box”.

This re­duces the chance of mis­plac­ing re­ceipts for claimable items or be­ing dis­or­gan­ised when you do come to file your re­turn.

“Even hav­ing some­thing as sim­ple as hav­ing a folder in your email where you throw in your rel­e­vant re­ceipts and other doc­u­ments rel­e­vant to your tax re­turn is a good way to go,” Ms Care­des said.

“If you have it all in one place, it’s all handy when you sit down to do your re­turn and you won’t for­get any­thing.”

Gather ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing your bank state­ments, div­i­dend state­ments and rental prop­erty ex­penses, and keep them in one digital file on your home com­puter.

Pic­ture: Damian Shaw

TAX TIPS: The Tax In­sti­tute’s tax coun­sel, Stephanie Care­des, says stor­ing re­ceipts dig­i­tally is easy.

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