Take stress out of tax time

Kelly Pillay, director, accountant and financial planner of the KLI Group in Cockburn Central.
Kelly Pillay, director, accountant and financial planner of the KLI Group in Cockburn Central.

IT’S mid-year and that means tax time is around the corner.

But local finance expert Kelly Pillay said lodging your return does not have to be a daunting process.

Ms Pillay is director, accountant and financial planner of the KLI Group in Cockburn Central.

She said while most people had a good idea of the documentation they required, many still saw doing their tax as an annoying chore.

“Tax time shouldn’t be stressful,” she said.

“It should be a chance to reflect on the year that has just been and provide useful data to allow you to make good financial decisions for the year ahead.

“One way to avoid nasty surprises around tax time is to see your accountant before the end of the financial year so they can help you anticipate any issues that may crop up.”

Ms Pillay said problems often arose because of poor record keeping during the year, leading to a mad rush to recover relevant documents.

“Keep all receipts if you think they’re possibly claimable,” she said. “This gives an accountant the best chance of maximising your position when a return is lodged.

“It’s disappointing for us when a client comes in and genuinely has claimable deductions but we can’t claim them because the client hasn’t kept appropriate documentation.”

Ms Pillay urged new business owners, or others entering into a business partnership, to seek out an accountant before the financial year is out.

“The Government has recently changed a number of the rules with significant benefits for small businesses,” she said.

“It’s imperative you seek assistance to talk through your personal situation and see whether some of the new initiatives apply to you.

“Engaging a bookkeeper is often an excellent way to ensure you are prepared to see your accountant come tax time and allows issues to be raised during the year as they arise rather than once a year when your tax is done.”

Tax tips from Kelly Pillay, director, accountant and financial planner of the KLI Group in Cockburn Central.

Record keeping: Having good records gives you the best chance of maximising your position.

Summarise: Most accountants charge on hourly rates. By preparing a summary of items you can reduce the amount of time they spend and hopefully also reduce your bill.

Do it early: Don’t leave it until the last minute to see your accountant. The longer you leave it the harder it is to obtain missing information.

Planning ahead: Planning for the financial year ahead is important. Ask your accountant what else they can do for you. Most accounting firms have added business advisory and personal wealth management services that can help you and your family.

The Australian Taxation Office has called on taxpayers to use a new tool to keep track of work-related expenses electronically.

The myDeductions tool, available through the ATO app, allows people to keep tabs on expenses throughout the year via their smartphone or tablet.

Visit www.ato.gov.au/deductions for information about claiming work-related expenses.