Here we go again - your tax checklist

The first month in the 2009/10 financial year is already over and hopefully you have or are busily preparing your 2008/09 tax information to lodge your tax returns.

DON’T leave it till later, as later is always too late. Before you know it your return is overdue and you’re rushing around trying to gather all your information for the 2008/099 tax year. Inevitably you forget something in the rush and this could be costly to you.

Unfortunately with the tax department it’s NOT a case of near enough is good enough. The secret is DO IT NOW whilst everything is at hand (PAYG summaries, medical fund information, bank interest and receipts). And get your refund (hopefully!) back as soon as you can as it’s always more beneficial in your account then the ATO’s.

If you are seeing your accountant make sure you take all the relevant information with you as the return preparation will be drastically affected if you don’t have it all.

As a minimum the following is a BASIC checklist:

  1. PAYG summaries (Group Certificate) all of them if you have more then one employer.
  2. Interest earned from the various banks you are with. Make sure you think back in case you closed some accounts over the year.
  3. Dividends from shares you own.
  4. Capital Gains tax on the sale of any shares or other assets, including real estate.
  5. Private Health Insurance Tax Statement.
  6. For those eligible for the Education Tax Refund (generally those who receive Family Tax Benefit Part A) bring all your children's education expenses.
  7. If you had out-of-pocket medical costs of more then $1,500 then you are entitled to a 20% rebate on the amount over $1,500, so add up your receipts (includes medical, hospital, pharmaceutical, optometric, dental expenses etc).
  8. Summarise your work expenses and check your previous returns to make sure you haven't forgotten anything.

Above all, make sure you have all the documentation to back up any claims you declare as you don’t want to get any unwanted phone calls from the ATO.

To make this an easier process next year, take the time now to start recording all of your tax information somewhere where it is easily accessible for next year.