How to start preparing to lodge your tax return

The contents provided on this page are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial advice. Consider your personal circumstances and objectives before making any financial decisions.

Lodging your tax return is generally a straightforward process, but it can be easy to feel flustered if you’re not prepared when tax time comes around.

To help you feel confident with lodging your tax return this year, here are some things you could do to start preparing now and save you time come July 1. 

1. Check for changes to lodging your tax return 

In February 2023 the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) changed how you can claim your working from home expenses. 

The change proposed a revised fixed rate method for claiming any costs incurred when working from home. The revised fixed rate method has increased the cents per work hour that you can claim from 52 cents to 67 cents. 

This means you can claim 67 cents per hour that you work from home. However, this now includes expenses for: 

  • data and internet 
  • mobile and home phone use 
  • electricity and gas 
  • computer consumables 
  • stationery. 

Prior to the change you were able to claim a separate deduction for these expenses with lodging your tax return. With the change, you are no longer able to do this. 

For help with calculating your working from home expenses you can view the ATO fact sheet here

2. Compile your working from home hours 

To make any working from home deductions when you lodge your tax return, you will need to ensure you have a record of your hours worked from home.

Since life can get busy, you might have your hours logged in separate places depending on what was convenient for you at the time e.g. your calendar, a document, a different spreadsheet, your phone.

You can use the time now to tidy up your record keeping so that: 

  1. You can easily provide a record of your hours worked from home, and 
  2. You can quickly and accurately calculate the working from home deductions you can claim when you lodge your tax return. 

3. Organise your paperwork 

Tax time can be stressful and overwhelming for some. Being prepared with the documents you need to lodge your tax return could alleviate some of the stress, help the process run smoothly, and ensure the information you provide is accurate.

Some of this information may not be available until July, but getting a headstart and organising this information now could help you save on time (and stress!) later. 

Personal information

  • Tax File Number (TFN)  
  • Bank details (BSB and account number)
  • Medicare and Private Health Insurance (if applicable)
  • Spouse’s income (if applicable).

Income information

  • Income tax assessment from previous year 
  • Income statements/payment summaries from all employers for the last income year
  • Bank statements for accounts where you’ve received any bank interest
  • Statements for any dividends received or invested
  • Lump sum payments you may have received or made
  • Pensions or Government payments you may have received 
  • Statements for any other sources of income (e.g. rental, foreign income, business).

4. Prepare your expenses before you lodge your tax return 

Consider taking some time to think about: 

  1. What you want to claim 
  2. What you can claim 
  3. What proof can you provide for your expenses (e.g. receipts, invoices, bank statements). 

Knowing what expenses you’re entitled to claim, particularly as they relate to your work, could help you get more out of your tax return and, potentially, your tax refund.

Examples of some expenses you may be able to claim include: 

  • Work-related expenses (e.g. vehicle, travel, uniform, self-education) 
  • Charitable donations over $2 
  • Rental property expenses 
  • Costs for managing tax affairs (e.g. tax agents
  • Investment expenses (e.g. bank fees, financial advisor fees).  

For tips on some expenses you might be able to claim check out our article on How to get the most out of your tax return here

Depending on where you work, you could have industry-specific expenses that you can claim when lodging your tax return. 

For example, if you work in construction and trade you may be able to claim expenses you incurred for the purchase of tools or other work-related equipment, protective gear and fees relating to professional licences. 

If you work in healthcare, you may be able to claim costs relating to your uniform, any conferences you attend (including attendance, travel, meals and accommodation), and meals purchases when you are required to work overtime.

Because the deductions you might be eligible to claim span across expenses from July 1 to June 30, it might take time to gather all the information and proof of purchases that you need. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, you could consider allocating a certain amount of time each week to gathering the information and documents you need, rather than doing it all in one go. 

Starting the work to lodge your tax return now can help you take incremental steps towards being ready and prepared for tax season!

Disclaimer: Beforepay Group Ltd, ABN: 63 633 925 505. Beforepay allows eligible customers to access their pay and provides budgeting tools. Beforepay does not provide financial products, financial advice or credit products. The views provided in this article include factual information and the personal opinions of relevant Beforepay staff and do not constitute financial advice. Beforepay and its related bodies corporate make no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or reliability of the contents of this blog post and do not accept any liability for any loss whatsoever arising from the use of this information. Please read our Terms of Service carefully before deciding whether to use any of our services.