As published on ‘Easy ways to save money’ http://www.easywaystosavemoney.com.au/blog/832/top-tips-to-maximise-your-2011-tax-refund July 4 2011.
It’s hard to believe that another tax year has passed and it’s time once again to get your records together to complete your tax return.
Tracey Collins, from Personal Tax Specialists, has given us her top 5 tax tips to help you maximise your tax refund in 2011.
1. Know the allowable tax deductions for your occupation – the average amount claimed in personal tax returns for work related expenses in Australia is $1,920 per year. So to maximise your tax refund this year, make sure you know what you are allowed to claim for your occupation and then keep the right records so that the Tax Office can’t disallow your claims.
The Personal Tax Specialists’ website lists specific tax deductions for over 30 occupations: http://personaltaxspecialists.com.au/what-deductions-can-you-claim.
In 2011 the Tax Office auditors are targeting Flight Attendants, Real Estate employees, Building industry employees, including apprentices and anyone who makes large or unusual claims for their occupation, so make sure you have the right records to prove your claims before lodging your return.
2. No receipts are needed for items costing less than $10 – you don’t need to keep receipts when you buy items for work costing less than $10 to be able to make a claim on your tax return. You can claim up to $200 for these small expenses, provided you keep a diary record with the information that would normally be shown on a receipt (date, business name, item purchased, price).
This also applies to donations. If you have made donations following the many natural disasters in Australia or New Zealand this year you can claim a tax deduction of up to $10 without needing to have receipts. Of course if you have donated more than $10 to a registered charity, you can claim the full amount as long as you have kept a record.
3. Claim for internet, phone and pay TV use – most people would use one or more of these services during the year for their work. To be able to claim a deduction in your tax return you will need to keep receipts confirming how much you have paid and also keep a diary record to work out what proportion of the expense is work related.
Your diary should be kept for one month of the year and needs to identify how much of the service is used for work and personal use.
4. Claim for using your car for work – the simplest way to claim for car expenses is to estimate the number of kilometres you travel for work purposes during the year (you can claim up to a maximum of 5,000km per vehicle). Trips could relate to attending meetings, conferences or training courses, travelling to pick up supplies, equipment or tools, or travelling between job sites or office locations.
You will need to be able to show the Tax Office how you have calculated the number of kilometres you claim for, but you don’t need to keep any receipts for petrol, car repairs or other running costs.
5. Self education and job seeking expenses are deductible – for a limited time only – thanks to a recent court case, the Tax Office will have to allow a tax deduction for self education and job seeking expenses for individuals who have received certain Centrelink payments this year.
If you were studying during the year and received AUSTUDY, ABSTUDY or Youth Allowance payments from Centrelink then you will be entitled to claim for expenses you paid to attend your course. This can include: course fees, textbooks, stationery, computers, USBs, internet connection fees and phone calls.
If you received Newstart Allowance during the year, then you will be able to claim for any expenses that directly relate to you looking for work and meeting the requirements of your Employment Pathway Plan. This can include: travel to job interviews, training course costs, phone calls and resume preparation costs, provided you haven’t been reimbursed for these expenses.
Unfortunately, the government have announced they will pass new legislation that will remove the entitlement to claim these expenses from the 1st July 2011, so this is the last year these deductions will be allowed.
For more information about any of these tips contact a Registered Tax Agent such as Personal Tax Specialists, www.personaltaxspecialists.com.au or phone 1300 335 675.
As a special offer for ‘Easy Ways to Save Money’ readers, Personal Tax Specialists will give every new client who joins us before 31st August 2011 a $25 credit to be used towards their 2011 tax return fee. To take advantage of this special offer, go to http://personaltaxspecialists.com.au/become-a-client-now and complete the New Client Form today. Don’t forget to mention ‘Easy Ways to Save Money’ referred you. (Note – there is a limit of one $25 credit per client)
Tracey Collins, for the Personal Tax Specialists team
Personal Tax Specialists Pty Ltd
Your time and tree friendly tax accountants
Phone 1300 335 675