10 tax tips to try before June 30
TAX time is less than a fortnight away, which leaves millions of Australians just days to decide if they want to beef up this year's tax refund.
The end of the financial year draws a line in the sand for tax deductions, and financial specialists say that smart spending in late June can deliver a cash windfall between July and September - rather than having to wait an extra year to get your money.
Each year more than 10 million Australians receive a tax refund, averaging more than $2500. Whether you're a worker, super fund member, investor or business owner, here are some potential ways to make yours bigger.
1 LEARN YOUR DEDUCTIONS
Many employees miss out because they do not realise what deductions they can claim. Work-related items bought before June 30 can become a quick deduction, and the Australian Taxation Office publishes guides for specific occupations. It has almost 40 different guides - from nurses and cleaners to adult industry workers and lawyers - so find one that matches or is close to your job.
2 TECH TIME
More Australians are bringing work home and using technology, opening the door for tax deductions for items such as phones and internet use. NDA Law managing director Andrea Michaels said apps, USB sticks and cloud storage could be deductions for some workers.
3 CLOTHES MAKETH THE MONEY
If you need to upgrade your work uniform, do it now, but be aware that the ATO has strict rules about what clothing is considered a uniform and the size of the business logos that must be on it. Black pants and a white shirt are not considered a uniform.
4 GIVING GENEROUSLY
Donations over $2 to recognised charities are tax deductible, so being generous in late June can pay off. H & R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman said you should make sure your money was going to a charity registered as a deductible gift recipient, and this could be checked at www.abr.business.gov.au.
5 MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS
"If you pay any fees to a professional association or pay trade union fees, if you pay that in June you can get the tax deduction now," Mr Chapman said.
6 READING FOR A REFUND
Similarly, subscriptions to trade journals or other publications related to your work are tax deductible, so consider paying for a year's worth in advance.
7 REV UP CAR COSTS
If you use your car for work and claim deductions using the logbook method, think about getting some maintenance or repairs done quickly. If not using a logbook, car costs can be claimed at 66c per kilometre if work-related travel is up to 5000km a year and you can prove your usage. You cannot claim travelling to and from work as a tax deduction.
8 UPFRONT INSURANCE
Income protection insurance is tax-deductible and you are able to prepay next year's premium and bring forward its tax deduction. Other forms of life insurance, including cover held in super, are not tax-deductible for individuals.
9 SUNSCREEN IN WINTER?
If you work outside you can claim the cost of sunscreen as a tax deduction, so stocking up now might be a good strategy. Deakin University associate professor Adrian Raftery said many Australians "never think about it at this time of year".
10 SUPER STRATEGIES
Superannuation rule changes on July 1 mean the caps on making contributions are dropping, so this is the last chance for many to make bigger deposits into super - potentially giving them a tax deduction or at least boosting their retirement nest egg.