Tips to tackle tax time

If it’s your first time lodging a tax return as an individual or you’re wanting some guidance through the process, we can give you some tips on what to do before, during and after tax time.

Before June 30

It’s never too early to start gathering the paperwork you need for your tax return. While you wait for your employer to prepare your pay as you go (PAYG) summary statement, you can start to think about other documents or info you’ll need.

Things to have ready

You’ll need some info, receipts and statements from the last financial year. For a detailed list of what you need to provide, it’s best to chat to a registered tax agent or the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It’s good to start with your:

  • Tax File Number (TFN)
  • bank details (BSB and account number)
  • Medicare number
  • receipts for any tax deductions you want to claim
  • PAYG summary from each employer
  • statements for money received from investments (like dividends or rental income)
  • bank statements for accounts you’ve received interest from.

If you want an account statement for a particular timeframe or need an up-to-date statement but you’re in between statement cycles, you can now generate a transaction summary or proof of balance letter in the Bankwest App. Learn more.

If you bank with us, you can get a copy of your account statement in online banking. All you need to do is select ‘Tax information’ under the Account information menu. If you don’t have access to online banking, you can contact us and we can send it in the mail instead.

During tax time

When 1 July hits, you can start to complete your tax return and submit it to the ATO. If you use a tax agent, you have until 31 October to submit your tax return for the last financial year.

Doing it yourself vs. paying a tax agent

Depending on how much time you have, you could prepare your tax return yourself or pay a registered tax agent to do it instead.

If you have a simple tax return (like one employer or only a few tax deductions) you might prefer to save money and do it yourself. If you have a more complex situation (like investment properties, shares or multiple employers) you might feel more comfortable paying a registered tax agent.

If you decide on a registered tax agent, make sure to keep the receipt - you can claim the expense as a deduction next financial year.

After you’ve submitted your tax return

If you’ve submitted your tax return between July to August, be mindful that it’s the busiest time of the year for the ATO, so you might have to wait a few weeks for your tax refund (if you’re entitled to one). Once you’ve received your Notice of Assessment (NOA) and stored your paperwork in a safe place, then it’s time to think about what to do with your tax refund.

Save it for a rainy day

Do you already have some savings set aside for a rainy day? If not, then you could get the ball rolling with your tax refund. You could open a separate savings account and even create a savings goal.

Learn more about choosing a savings account

Shave off existing debt

If you’ve got a home loan, personal loan or credit card, then it could be a good opportunity to pay some of it off by using your tax refund. It could help you save on interest and reduce the loan term at the same time.

Learn more about debt consolidation

Spend it on something special

If you’ve been window shopping for a while and have something special in mind, then you could treat yourself. If it’s a bigger ticket item and your tax refund doesn’t cover the cost, you could work out a budget and start saving the extra money you need.

Calculate your budget

Tax time glossary

Whether you’re organising your tax return, or a registered tax agent is completing it for you, it’s a good idea to brush up on the most common tax terms.

Medicare Levy

Medicare is a service for Australian residents to access healthcare. It’s partly funded by the Medicare levy, which is 2% of your taxable income (unless your taxable income is below a certain amount).

Notice of Assessment (NOA)

Once you submit your tax return, the ATO will process it and send you a NOA. It’s a detailed summary of the amount of tax owed.

Pay as you go (PAYG) summary statement

This is a payment summary statement that your employer prepares each financial year. It shows your TFN, the amount of income received and the total tax you’ve paid for the year.

Tax deduction

Deductions are usually expenses (personal or work related) that you claim in your tax return. For example, if you work in a trade you might be able to claim your tools, uniform or laundry.

Tax offset

Tax offsets (sometimes called tax rebates) directly reduce the amount of tax you need to pay from your income. For example, if you’re a pensioner then you may be entitled to claim the seniors and pensioners tax offset.

Thinking about saving your tax refund?

Browse our range of saving accounts

Some of the information has been sourced from the Australian Taxation Office.

The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL / Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.