Free help with Tax for the employed and self-employed

Why would you even need help? The old way of keeping records has worked fine for years hasn’t it? It’s not that long ago you could just put a blank signed tax return form in an envelope with all your records, and post it off to one of the assessors at the ATO. Today many people just drop a shoe box full of receipts at a tax agent’s office and low and behold, some weeks later, an assessment will arrive in the mail. Today everything is so automated that the ATO know all your income details, and can determine your income before you lodge your return. The expenses and deductions however, are left up to you. The ATO no longer “assesses” tax returns, and a taxpayer is responsible for his or her own assessment. You are expected to be an expert in taxation law. The ATO’s role is now to harvest income data from employers, banks, and other government agencies, and to enforce compliance with the use of penalties.
Tax agents make use of the same systems used by the ATO, to help you comply on the income side. They also help you to be an expert in tax law. Your role, is to keep the records and documents to support every possible expense and claim made. You must be the holder of these records so the ATO can check your claims for at least 5 years. There are tools that can help you with record keeping for both salaried and business taxpayers, and here are 2 examples.
New to the scene for wage earners and tradies is a smart phone app put out by the ATO for storing receipts and for keeping a car log book. Its available in the app store for both Android and Apple. This free app, helps record and process tax deductions and evidence claims. It does this by summarising and saving your receipts, using your smart phone’s camera. The information can then be used by your tax agent to complete your income tax return. I wouldn’t throw away your receipts but the ATO will accept a photograh as evidence. The App will help you categorise receipts into files for motor vehicle expenses, stationary, travel, or whatever you need. It can even record if a receipt might be needed for warranty in the future. The log book record can help you record the travel for work and can even track the distance using GPS.
For the small to medium business operator, BAS preparation, Income Tax and record keeping can be costly and time consuming. This takes you away from your primary role as manager of your business. We recommend looking at software packages that can make use of online bank data feeds to automate these roles as much as possible. Using automated systems can cut your record keeping and processing time by as much as 80%. The improved results can also help find tax savings.
While some software can be downloaded and used for free from developer’s websites, the best use of this type of software needs demonstrating. So that opportunities are not lost, we offer a free demonstration to explain the best way to use the systems that we recommend.
By helping taxpayers access these tools, our clients have improved the quality of their records and ultimately achieve better tax outcomes.