It’s Tax Time

Whenever anyone asks “What do you do?”  I hesitate.  The conversation generally goes as follows:

“What do you do for work?”

“I’m an accountant”

“Oh…….”  Dead silence.  *Insert crickets*

My occupation tends to be a conversation stopper! We joke in the office about lying about our career choice – in fact my senior accountant often tells people she is an “Awesome Accountant” because at least that way she gets a laugh before the dead silence.  *Insert crickets*

The exception to this very common situation is in the month of July.  Then everyone wants to be my best friend forever.  The conversation generally goes as follows:

What do you do for work?”

“I’m an accountant”

“Really?  Busy time of year huh?  So while I’ve got you can I ask *insert tax question*?”

Honestly?  I love it.  I’m happy to share any information, tips or tricks that I know with any willing listener.  I only wish people would ask me questions all year round.

I realise that payment summary statements (or if you’re old school – group certificates) are issued in the first couple of weeks of July but why does the hype die down so quickly after that?  Surely not everyone who is required to lodge a tax return lodges in the month of July.  Of course I know the answer to that, it’s no.  We do of course get another tiny spike of interest in our careers towards the end of September when the Australian Taxation Office start advertising that the due date deadline is looming.  However once we explain that if you appoint a tax agent (like us!) to prepare your tax work, you actually have until May everything goes silent again.

I know that it’s too often that I meet with a client and there are deductions that should be claimed that aren’t, simply because the client didn’t realise the claim was available.  They leave knowing what information to keep and looking forward to the opportunity to claim but it’s all next year.  Last year I tried to count the number of clients that were astonished once I explained the home office expenses calculation of 34 cents per hour that the ATO allow if you do work from home.  If you do 3 hours a week work from home that’s an extra $55 in tax deductions to claim without keeping receipts.

So here’s my tip:  Ask your tax questions all year round.  If you come across something you think is applicable – contact your advisor and get an answer there and then.  Don’t just store the information in your brain, it might get filed away and not be found until after you next lodge your return.

IQ Accountants provide tax checklists which you can refer to in order to work out what deductions can and can’t be claimed.  It’s also a great tool to assist in collation with your tax documents.  Email if you’d like a checklist.

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