Urgh, tax, boring. I know, it’s lamer than Tony Abbott’s attempts to avoid questions by mentioning “the boats” wherever he possibly can. But bear with me, because getting on top of your taxes now could get you a bigger return come tax time.
Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself for the financial labyrinth that is the tax return.
Get your shit together
All of it. Relevant receipts, last year’s Notice of Tax Assessment (the letter they send you once your return has been processed), your previous tax return and details relating to any investments that you have like interest earned in a savings account, property etc.
Avoid another year of leaving it to the last minute, you know the pain that comes with such procrastination. Even if you do a little each day, just get it all together and create a filing system to keep it in order. In a pile at the bottom of your wardrobe isn’t gonna cut it.
And once you have a system in place, it’s simply a matter of adding documents to it as they come in. Easy.
Sort out your login details
There are a number of login details you’ll need to do your tax. Some insurers will provide their statements online, same with bank statements. Get all of these together now, because no doubt one of them will tell you that your account doesn’t exist or lock you out for typing in the wrong details too many times.
And then there’s the myGov website. There’s no getting around it either, you have to login to lodge your return.
I’m convinced that it was designed by Satan and bug-tested by a Llama. Allow me to regale you with my experiences in the cesspool that is the most poorly designed website in the country. Maybe even the universe.
Me: *Attempts to login*
myGov: Sorry bro, your login details are wrong
Me: Fair deuce, it’s been a while. *Clicks “forgot password”*
myGov: Sick one’s dawg, I just sent you an email with a magic code, tell me what it is and then you can answer your secret question.
Me: Rad, here you go!
myGov: Yo, I said I’d let you answer your secret question, but I’m not gonna do that anymore. Instead, here’s a page that tells you your secret answer was wrong, even though you were never given a chance to provide it. Also, I really enjoy listening to Nickelback in a way that’s not ironic. Chad Kroeger is the songbird of our generation. Fight me.
Me: (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻
End scene – I then call the number listed in what I assume is the last place anyone would look.
Me: Yeah hi, I want to do my taxes because I have to, but your website won’t let me login.
Really nice girl: Yeah, this is happening a lot. You can either keep trying or I can send you a form to fill out so that I can release your password to you. It will take about five business days.
Out of sheer frustration I kept trying and eventually, it just worked. WTF?
mGov: Oh yeah, that’s my bad, I was listening to Celine Dion and forgot that your magic password was actually correct. Answer the question and I’ll let you in home slice!
I got really carried away there, but what I’m getting at is sometimes websites are created by evil people and you need to fill out a form to get into them. It’s best to get this out of the way when you’re not in a rush.
The more you know about the taxes you pay, the exemptions you’re eligible for and the deductions you can claim, the better off you’ll be.
The ATO website has got a lot of useful information on it. Boring, but useful, so set aside a little time to educate yo’self to get the most out of your tax return.
But if you’re not sure, see a tax accountant that will do it for you. It will cost you, but you can claim those costs back on your next return.