How to take control of your taxes in 2020

With the new year well and truly upon us, and New Year’s resolutions in full swing, what better time is there to start new financial habits too. 

While the temptation may be to put off thinking about taxes to tax time only, Chartered Accountants have outlined some simple tax tips you can implement now, to make life easier when it comes to lodging your return. 

Susan Franks, Senior Tax Advocate from Chartered Accountants Australian New Zealand (CA ANZ), says tax planning is essential. 

“Thinking about your return might be the last thing you want to do. But if you can start 2020 on the right foot, it will take the stress out of tax time come July, and may also help to maximise your return,” she said. 

CA ANZ’s top financial habits to help make tax time easier and potentially even increase your return are: 

1. File as you go

“If you can’t account for what’ve spent, you can’t claim it,” said Franks. “The ATO has a handy app to help with this. It’s simple to use and you can take a photo of your receipts to keep on file. And come tax time you’ll have all your receipts organised and ready to go.  “You should speak to your local Chartered Accountant about what you can and can’t claim, as it varies person to person, and year to year.  “This is especially true of big-ticket deduction claims, like car expenses, travel and self-education.” 

2. Keep good records 

“You must keep receipts for at least five years. “Creating a digital record of your files is a great and easy way to do this, and you avoid the clutter and potential of misplacing paperwork or receipts. 

3. Use a tax agent 

“This is what we do for a living! Using a Chartered Accountant will ensure the process of lodging your tax return is as simple and stress free as possible. “It’s reassuring to know the CA’s must meet educational, ethical and professional standards, so you know that your finances will be cared for in the most professional way possible. “As a bonus, the fees are also tax deductible.” 

4. File on time, every time 

“It seems like a no-brainer, and if you want to avoid those pesky fees and fines, it’s common sense. “And by doing these simple steps, come July you’ll be ready, organised and on time!”