There’s so much paperwork at tax time; tiny little receipts flying all over the place and no matter how organised you intend to be, those bits of paper always seem to get away from you; sound familiar? No need to panic; in fact there’s never been a better time to get focused. With a little planning you can face the financial year end with determination instead of trepidation.
Pay In Advance
Try to pay as many tax deductible expenses in advance based on your tax estimators and calculators. – even into next financial year. This common money management strategy is used by many successful enterprises and it works just as effectively for your personal finances. By paying for some of next year’s bills now, you can receive the deduction in this financial year. Note that this strategy only works for deductible expenses, such as interest on investment loans or certain types of insurance premiums. The larger your prepaid expense items, the greater your deductions. The other benefit of this strategy is that it gives you a really clear, running start to your new financial year. The best way to utilise this strategy is to keep paying deductibles in advance so you have a rolling run of deductibles with which to offset your income each financial year.
Charitable giving is often deductible, so if you are considering any worthy causes it’s a good idea to donate before the financial year ends on June 30. Make sure you keep your receipts. If your contribution is paid monthly via direct debit, ask about receiving a statement for your contributions at financial year end.
Consider Private Health Cover
If you earn well, you probably get hit with a surcharge. You can avoid this by taking out private health insurance. You do need to have held the policy for the full financial year in order to receive the full benefit, but if you don’t already have some form of private health cover then you can at least make a start.
Receive This Year’s Income Next Year
It isn’t always easy (or practical) to defer income but if you can have any bonuses, term deposit earnings, or dividend payments deferred until after July 1, you will not be required to pay tax on that money this financial year. You will of course need to declare it next financial year; running a rolling balance sheet works just as well for maximising income as it does for minimising expenses.
Do you have a system for tracking receipts and deductibles? The end of financial year is an ideal time to examine your paperwork systems. Ask for electronic receipts whenever possible and make sure your computer files are organised in an easily manageable way. For those times when you can only get paper receipts, set aside some regular time to scan these in regularly; weekly or monthly works well for most people. This means you will always have electronic records for anything you might claim. Check out this useful tax calculator. Remember – if you can’t prove it, you can’t claim it.
Making a living isn’t about what you earn; it’s about what you keep. Maximising your tax return is all about keeping as much of what’s yours’ as you can so it’s worth a little time and effort to get it right.
Have any tax time horror stories? Let us know in the comments box below.