Whether you use an accountant, tax agent or do it yourself, it’s vital that you keep on top of everything you can claim to maximise your return.
And getting the largest refund possible is even more important at a time when the rising cost of living means many Aussies are increasingly relying on their tax returns to make ends meet.
Also by Mark Chapman:
Here is H&R Block’s hit list of the five most commonly overlooked tax deductions that you need to be aware of:
1. Boost your retirement savings and claim a tax deduction
You can make additional concessional contributions up to your concessional contributions cap (currently $27,500) and claim an income tax deduction for doing it. This means you can effectively top up your super - provided you don’t breach your cap.
The super guarantee payments made by your employer, as well as any salary-sacrificed contributions, are included in your concessional contributions, so effectively the amount you can pay into super through a tax-deductible contribution is the difference between those contributions and the $27,500 cap.
So, if you have some spare cash, this can be a great way to boost your retirement savings and claim a tax deduction for doing it. The payment must be made within the current tax year and you need to advise your super fund that you’ve made the payment by the time you lodge your 2024 return. Your super fund or accountant can give you guidance on how to complete the form, and there’s a standard form on the ATO website.
2. Claim membership and subscription costs
If you’re a member of a professional or trade association as part of your work, you can claim a deduction for your subscription costs. This also covers union fees if you’re a member of a trade union, as well as subscriptions to trade or professional magazines or – if you’re an investor – subscriptions to investment magazines, such as those focusing on shares or investment properties.
Don’t forget, if you prepay your fees or subscriptions for the next tax year before June 30, 2024, you can claim a deduction this year.
3. Claim your income protection insurance premium
The cost of any insurance premium against loss of income is tax deductible. But be careful, it doesn’t include life insurance, critical care insurance or trauma insurance. It also excludes policies paid for out of your superannuation contributions.
4. Claim your rental property expenses
Most people with a rental property know that you can claim a deduction for the interest element of the mortgage but there are plenty of other deductions you can also claim. So, if you’ve paid for any of these costs this year, make sure to include it in your tax return:
Repairs and maintenance: Repairs, gardening and lawn mowing, pest control, end-of-lease cleaning, and servicing of things like hot water systems, smoke alarms and air conditioning systems.
Letting fees: Letting-agent fees, marketing fees, advertising for tenants, credit checks on a prospective tenant, hiring a debt collector to collect arrears
Management fees: Strata fees, security-patrol fees
Finance fees: Bank fees, bookkeeping, secretarial fees, land tax, quantity surveyor costs.
5. Claim the cost of tax affairs
If you paid for a tax professional to complete last year’s tax return, you can claim a deduction for the cost in this year’s return. Better still, you can also claim a deduction for any travel costs you incurred in getting to and from your agent.
If you’ve paid for any tax advice during the year, that too is deductible.