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5 ways to maximise your Individual Tax Return

Man carrying books and a cup that says "I love Tax"
1. Make sure you keep good records.
Receipts are key in making claims on your tax return. Keeping track of expense receipts through the year will mean that you don't have to do a mad rush and set yourself up with a memory migraine once tax time hits.

This doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. Anybody with a smart phone can quickly take a screen shot of an online receipt of a photo of a paper receipt to keep a record. As long as your phone is regularly backed up these photo files can be easily sorted into folders and you can throw away your old shoebox filing system.

Logbooks can also be easily stored in this way to avert any major issues if the hard copy is lost. Just make sure you take a few minutes each week or fortnight to make sure your logbook is up to date before photographing it for your online file.

2. Keep in mind what you're entitled to claim as you go along.
Any money you spend during the year that relates to your earning income can be claimed as a deduction in your tax return. As long as you use the item for work, even if you also use it in part for personal purposes, you can claim it as a deduction.

If you're not sure if you can claim something as a deduction, keep the record anyway and you can ask us at tax time. Of course, you can always shoot us an email if you want to check on it in the meantime at team@cocoaf.com.au.

3. Donate and feel great.
Anything you donate over $2 to a registered charity is tax deductible. Make sure you get a receipt and keep it on your photo file to claim. This means the donations you make help others and also reduce the tax you pay overall. It's a win - win!

4. Don't forget the Medicare Levy Surcharge and Family Tax Benefit.
If you don't have private health insurance and your income exceeds $90 000 for singles or $180 000 for families, you have to pay a minimum of 1% extra (additional to the 2% Medicare Levy paid by most Aussie taxpayers) in the form of the Medicare Levy Surcharge. Look at your projected income and consider private health insurance, it could mean you pay less overall when everything is considered in your tax time analysis.

The Family Tax Benefit (FBT) is the amount you can be paid to help with the cost of raising your kids. It's split into two parts: FBT part A and FBT part B. You can claim this if:
- you have provided care to a dependent child
- you have cared for the child for a minimum of 10% of the assessment period (the financial year)
- you have satisfied the Australian residency requirements for family assistance. Note: these are not the same criteria as the Australian residency requirements for taxation.
FTB part A is income tested and dependent on your family adjusted income while FTB part b is a payment made to a family and is not paid per child. It is not income tested for single parents.

5. Get the advice of a tax professional.
Getting the right advice from a qualified tax professional can increase your tax return by a huge margin. People in the know can help you make sure you account for all the smaller possible deductions throughout the year. We can help you plan to spread your deductible purchases appropriately through various months so that deductions can be made in the financial year that will most benefit you. We can advise you on making investments and selling assets based on your individual circumstances and earning rate, in order to set you up in your optimal claiming position.

(The above has been written as a blog and is not intended to constitute actual financial advice as each individual's circumstance varies. For specific advice relevant to your own personal or business situation contact the team at COCO on team@cocoaf.com.au).




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