The end of financial year doesn’t have to be too taxing a time. These five tips will help organise your finances for the coming financial year.
Take the pain out of EOFY by being organised. With the right preparation, you can make lodging your tax return a painless process and maybe even increase your refund!
1. Plan ahead
Decide when and how you will lodge your tax return. Will you do it online, via a lodgement service, the MyGov portal or ask your accountant? Your choice may depend on the complexity of your affairs but whichever option you choose, allocate time in advance. Often, it can be a great idea to meet with your adviser or accountant in June to ensure you are maximising the deductions and investments available before June 30. Don’t leave it to the last minute and find out you’ve missed out!
2. Find all you need
Often the most challenging part of lodging your tax return is finding all the relevant paperwork if you haven’t been of top of it all year. It can pay to keep your tax information together through the year, including receipts and bank and credit card statements. You’ll also need payment summaries, records of interest, details of any foreign pensions, your spouse’s income details and other records if you have investments or rental properties. You can see the complete list on the ATO website. If you’re not great at being overly organised, invest in a tray or spike that you can put all the relevant paperwork on as it comes in so that it’s handy when you need it each year.
3. Know your deductions
Many people don’t realise what you can claim tax deductions on. From dry-cleaning to charitable donations and superannuation contributions, knowing what expenses are tax-deductible may increase your tax refund significantly. Typical deductions include work-related training or courses, uniform costs, some insurances and office expenses.
The ATO website has a useful list of deductible expenses. If you want to get ahead, you could even purchase deductible items for next year before June 30 so they’re deductible against this year’s income. Again, it’s worth checking in with your accountant early to ensure you get it right.
4. Boost your super – and your spouse’s
By sacrificing some of your pre-tax salary throughout the financial year, you can increase your retirement savings but also reduce your taxable income. Salary sacrifice contributions are taxed at a maximum rate of 15% which may be less than your marginal rate. Popping in a lump sum prior to June 30 also works for many – just make sure you get the type of contribution right!
Also, contributing to your spouse’s super will boost their super savings and you may be entitled to a tax offset if your spouse earns less than $13,800.
5. Get ready for the year ahead
The end of the financial year is a great opportunity to understand your finances. Usually, you have until October 31 to finalise a personal return. After lodging your return you should be well equipped to plan for the next financial year. Start thinking about how you can improve your budget or if you have the funds to invest.
Automating a small savings program can have small funds quickly add up.
By following these tips, speaking with a financial adviser or accountant and conducting your own research too, you should be ready to transition easily into the new financial year.
 Australian Taxation Office. Accessed at www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/Growing-your-super/Adding-to-my-super/Salary-sacrificing-super/