It’s that time of the year again, when you start getting emails about tax deductible donations and work starts talking about personal income statements. June and July can be a bit of a busy time and one of the most fear-inducing, confusing and overcomplicated processes during this time period is how to lodge your tax return.
Lodging your tax return may seem like a scary process but for most of us, it’s a few clicks on your screen and then…done. You don’t have to worry about it for another year.
If you’re someone who works multiple jobs or has a more complex income history, it might be best to consult with an accountant. However, the majority of those who are earning an income, whether that be through their occupation, investments or interest, it’s easier and more cost effective to just DIY on your computer, in the comfort of your own home.
Here’s 6 easy steps on how to tackle your tax:
Step 1: myGov
The first thing you need to do is to link your myGov account with your Australian Taxation Office (ATO) account. On the myGov page, click Services and ATO should come up as a service you can link.
Step 2: ATO Website
After this is set up, click the ATO link and you’ll be redirected to this page, where you can click the blue link on the right to Lodge.
Step 3: Contact Details
The first part of actually lodging your tax return is the easiest: filling out your contact details. If this isn’t the first time you’ve lodged your tax return, changes are that your details will already be there. It’s important for the ATO to have this information in case there are any issues with your tax that need to be quickly resolved. Update as necessary and you’re good to go.
Step 4: Financial Institution Details
This section is also fairly straightforward. Unless your details are already there, this section will ask you for your bank details: account name, BSB, and account number. It’s also really important for these details to be up to date as this is where your returned income will go. Easy!
Step 5: Personalise Return
This section requires a little more work. There may be some pre-filled sections already, in which case it is important to check that the ticked boxes are correct. This step includes questions about receiving government schemes, interest, foreign income and deductions (from things like donations to non-profit organisations and work-related expenses).
Step 6: Prepare Return
This section will show you how much you’ve earned in the 2018-2019 financial year between all of your occupations, the occupation in which you earn the most money as well as how much tax has been withheld. If one of your occupations is missing from the list, for which you have a PAYG tax summary or ‘Income Statement’, simply press Add/Edit next to ‘Income statements and payment summaries’ and insert the missing information. Your employer should send you this ‘Income Statement’ by 31st July 2019, if they haven’t already.
Scrolling down the page, there will also be sections about Medicare and private health insurance, so if applicable, it’s a good idea to have your private health insurance number on hand.
The last step is at the bottom of the page. After filling out all necessary information, press Calculate and double check that the amount of tax withheld is correct. After this, tick the declaration of identity box and simply press Lodge.
If you’d like, you can also print out a copy of your tax return, which includes your income statements for the year.
While it may not be a very difficult process, the year long gap between people filling out their tax returns can often make their memories a bit rusty. We hope this simplifies the process for you, and good luck!
Written by: Melanie Wong