With all that’s going on in the world, it’s easy to see why people would want to get their hands on a bit of extra cash asap.

So now that the financial year has clocked over once again, it seems only natural for taxpayers to want some hard-earned dollars back.  After all, that mortgage isn’t going anywhere soon, let alone life’s daily expenses.

But the Australian Tax Office has buckled under the weight of thousands of Australians trying to file their tax return as soon as possible.  And it warns that rushing to complete forms could end up costing you.  It could leave you missing out on key deductions or making errors that may amount to fraud.

There seem to be several traps that could catch out some taxpayers this return season.  Here’s what to look out for:

 

1. Lodging as fast as possible does not guarantee you’ll receive your refund any sooner

While most will receive their refund within two weeks, the ATO still needs the relevant information from employers, banks, and private health insurers. Jumping the gun could hold you up.

 

2. Double-dipping work from home costs

You can use the ATO’s general “short cut method” of claiming 80c per hour for every hour you worked from home.  Or you can claim specific items like laptops and desks.  You can’t do both.

 

3. Outdated bank details

Your bank details don’t automatically update with the ATO if you make any changes with your bank.  They will only have what was on file from the previous year’s return.  Make sure you check this before lodging.

 

4. Claiming travel from home to work

You cannot claim the cost of driving or catching public transport to work.  You are only allowed to claim travel from one place of business to another.

 

5. Not having proof of expenses

While the ATO confirms that you don’t have to show receipts for claims of up to $300, you must have actually spent the money and be able to show how you worked out your claim, if requested.

 

6. Claiming expenses not directly related to work

Either confusion or deliberate rule breaking is responsible for making claims for the cost of private expenses.  Many taxpayers take liberties when it comes to these outlays, and they quickly present as red flags.

 

So, forget the mad dash to the finish line.  It’s bound to do little but knock the wind out of you.  Slow and steady always seems to win the race in the end.

It can literally pay to take your time and devise a well-planned strategy when it comes to managing your finances.  It’s not something you want to bungle on a whim.  Remember – rushing is not the same as expediting.

And, although any extra money in your pocket is a bonus, a few thousand dollars in tax deductions are unlikely to make a huge impact.  But a sophisticated investment strategy just might.

If you’d like a way to really pack a punch in the belly of your finances, give us a call asap.  It could be the rush you’re actually looking for.