Top tax tips
Tackling your tax in 2016
It's tax time again. Follow our top tax tips to make tax time a
Pull together your paperwork
Before you lodge your tax, you will need to make sure you have
all the paperwork and information you need to make sure your tax
return is accurate.
The ATO will pre-fill some information from banks, super funds
and Centrelink into your online tax return from August, so if you
complete your tax return after this, you will save time and be less
likely to make a mistake. However, you will still need to check
that the pre-filled information is accurate.
Here are some of the documents you will need for your 2015/16
- Payment summaries - These outline the
income you have received from your employer, super funds or
payments from government agencies like Centrelink or the Department
of Veterans Affairs.
- Bank statements - Will show any interest
you have earned during the period.
- Shares, unit trusts or managed funds statements
- To work out any dividends or distributions made to
- Buy and sell investment statements - You
can get these from your investment adviser or stockbroker if you
bought or sold any shares.
- Records from your rental property
- Includes information relating to a capital gain or
capital loss from the sale of a property.
- Foreign income details - Details of
foreign pensions or other foreign income.
- Private health insurance policy statement
- You will need this to complete the private health
insurance section of your tax return.
- Donation receipts - From any approved
charities you contribute to.
- Educational records and receipts - Not
all expenses are claimable, see the ATO's self-education
expenses page for more information.
- Investment property receipts - These will
help you claim the costs of repairs and maintenance on your
- Your spouse's income and expenses - If
you have a spouse, you will also need details of their income and
expenses to make sure your entitlements are correctly
- Union membership - You can deduct the
cost of your union membership from your taxable income.
- Work related expenses - You may be able
to claim some work related expenses, but there are some
expenses you won't be able to claim even if they are work
related. See claim your
deductions for more details.
Changes to the Medicare levy and private health insurance
Since 1 July 2015 the income thresholds used to calculate the
private health insurance rebate and the Medicare levy surcharge
have been frozen at the 2014-15 levels for 3 years. This could push
you into a higher private health insurance rebate threshold if your
income increases. This would mean that:
- if you have private health insurance, your rebate entitlement
- if you do not have the appropriate level of private health
insurance, you may have to pay the Medicare levy.
- if you paid the Medicare levy surcharge last year, the levy you
pay this year may increase.
If you receive a pay increase, you should contact your health
insurer to ensure the correct rebate is applied. For more
information visit the ATO's webpage on
private health insurance income thresholds.
You may be able to claim a deduction for some costs related to
your job. Expenses must be:
- Real - you must have spent the money
yourself and not been reimbursed
- Relevant - expenses must be related to
your job; and
- Recorded - you must have a record to
prove you paid for it.
Visit the ATO's website for more details about claiming work-related expenses.
You can use the
myDeductions tool in the ATO app to help keep track of
your deductions. The tool allows you to record work-related
expenses, gifts and donations, store photos of receipts, and record
car trips. myDeductions is only for individuals claiming
work-related expenses as employees, not for small business
From 1 July 2016 you can pre-fill the deductions in your online
tax return by uploading them from the app, or you can share the
information directly with your registered tax agent.
Lodge your tax online or with
a tax agent
To lodge online, you will need to create a myGov account and then link it
to the ATO.
You can lodge your tax return online using myTax - it's quick,
easy, safe and secure. Visit the ATO website to find out how to
Once you have lodged your tax return keep an eye on your myGov
inbox for your notice of assessment and tax receipt.
Need help from a registered tax agent?
If you want to use a professional to do your tax return, make
sure you use a registered tax agent. You can check if the agent is
registered on the online tax and
BAS agent register.
See our choosing an accountant
webpage for more details.
Lodge your return before
If you are lodging your own tax return online or by paper, you
have until 31 October 2016 to lodge it. If you decide to use a
registered tax agent, you can lodge later but you will need to have
contacted the tax agent before 31 October to qualify.
Make tax this year as easy as possible by
getting organised and knowing what information you will need to
Last updated: 20 Jan 2017