Posted: 1 July, 2015
What you need to know when making your claim
Happy New Financial Year! That means.. it's tax time. We've busted five tax myths to help you get your money and make sure it's all legit.
Tax Myth 1: "I can just add this claim here, claim a bit more there, no one will know"
Reality: The ATO is looking at our returns more closely than ever. They have automated programs scanning for for larger-than-usual claims, and this year there's a big focus on work-related expenses.
"Every return that comes into the ATO is scrutinised because we're using this sophisticated technology in order to be able to identify those that are outside the norm," says Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte.
"We're able to compare your occupation, even the suburb- we're able to compare your occupation with others in your general location."
When it comes to claiming work related expenses
- you must have spent the money yourself
- it must be related to your job
- you must have a record to prove it. Keep your receipts.
Tax Myth 2: "It won't matter if I don't have a receipt."
Reality: It might be best to just keep them all! "We might come back to you after you've lodged your return, maybe even after you've got your refund, and request documentary evidence," Graham says.
Tax Myth 3: "I haven't put in a tax return for a few years.. it's no big deal."
Reality: There are penalties for not lodging, but if you own up voluntarily, they can go easy on you. Especially if you've had difficult personal circumstances. "We're open to reducing penalties, in some case they may not be imposed, for late lodgment. But the best thing is get onto it straight away and make contact with us. Lodge voluntarily, don't wait for us to make contact."
Tax Myth 4: "I have a balance owing, I've done something wrong!"
Reality: This normally happens if you have investment income or something like that, or it may just be that you haven't had enough tax deducted from your pay.
Tax Myth 5: "I don't need to lodge a tax return, I get paid in cash."
Reality: "This is quite serious, if you're deliberately failing to return income you can be prosecuted for that."
Some good news- the ATO is trying to make tax time easier, with lots of help available online. People with really simple tax returns can even file on a smart phone this year. Check out My Tax for more info.