Key Dates

The tax year is based on financial years as opposed to calendar years. The 2014/15 Financial Year spans the period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, and the deadline to prepare an individual tax return is 31 October 2015. However, if you use a registered tax agent such as MEDIQ Financial to prepare and lodge your returns, it is possible to be granted an extension for more time to lodge.

**It is important to note that if you go through the avenue of using a tax agent, you must have engaged them and be registered as a client on their books by 31 October 2015 to be eligible.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) begins processing tax returns from 4 July 2015, and payment of any tax refunds usually begins from 16 July 2015.

Lodging Your Return

Lodging your tax return has never been easier for individuals. There are a number of methods available, catering from online to paper lodgement.


If you are making your lodgement yourself, then the ATO has two online methods available: myTax and e-tax.

The myTax application and the e-tax system both allow you to quickly and conveniently complete your tax return online. They also pre-fill any available information for you, but it is important to check the accuracy of all fields and information as providing misleading information is not only an offence but mistakes will slow down the process.

The myTax application is available on desktop, tablet and mobile, and is suitable for those with relatively simple tax affairs. For example, if you were an Australian resident for the full year and your only source of income was from salary, dividends and interest, and your deductions are equally derived, then you can use this function.

E-tax is better suited to individuals that have more complicated tax situations. For example, in addition to your salary, you may have business income, rental income or capital gains or losses from investments. This system steps you through the process including relevant deductions and eligibility requirements.

If lodging your own return, using one of the online methods is the fastest method, with returns being processed within 12 days. On the contrary, the paper method can take up to 50 days.

In addition to the online self lodgement methods, you can also lodge your tax return through paper methods (by completing the ATO's paper tax return) or engage a registered tax agent to lodge on your behalf

Hiring a pro

Hiring a professional tax agent is another way to lodge your tax return, and this method is recommended because a trained tax agent is likely to get you much more bang for your buck than if you do it yourself.

For example, they know how much of your Internet costs can be claimed on tax if you occasionally work from home, and if you have a second job they can help to deduct the travel costs of travelling from one workplace to another.

These are the primary benefits of using a registered tax agent:

  • You can extend your lodgement deadline, as registered tax agents can legally apply for extensions on tax returns.
  • They know what is tax deductible and what you can claim for.
  • They will ensure that if there are any errors on your return it is dealt with smoothly, to reduce stress and save time for you.
  • It is possible to hire a tax agent/accountant who specialises in your field or industry, meaning they are much more up to date with the relevant tax laws and deductibles, and are able to apply this knowledge to your tax return.

Documents Required to Complete Your Tax Return

Lodging your tax return has never been easier for individuals. There are a number of methods available, catering from online to paper lodgement.

For individuals

In order to prepare your tax return, you will require the following documents:

  • Payment summaries - Your group certificate/s from your employer/s, showing your salary payments and the tax withheld.
  • Financial statements - You will need your bank account statements showing interest, dividend statements from shareholdings, earnings statements from other investments (such as managed funds and rental properties) up to the 30th June of the relevant year.
  • Receipts - Trade receipts (contract notes) for any share trades conducted, receipts for any items and expenses that you would like to claim, and any bills for work-related costs should all be kept for up to five years after it has been claimed on a tax return. When keeping receipts for claims purposes, it can help to organise them based on key categories (such as travel, home office, phone, other). Marking work expenses with a highlighter can also help you to quickly sort through the relevant and eligible claims.

In addition to these documents, you will also need to know your Tax File Number and your bank account details for direct credit of any applicable tax refund.

If you operate as a business

If you operate as a business, such as a medical practice or a retail store, you will be required to lodge a Business Activity Statement (BAS) on either a monthly or quarterly basis, and always by a due date specified on each notice. You will be sent a notice in the mail for each period.

The BAS is used by the government to monitor your GST, PAYG (pay as you go instalments), and other tax obligations. This is where you can also claim GST credits, as a net of your GST remittance obligations. In terms of PAYG reporting, you must report on any tax withheld for employees and/or instalments you must pay towards your year end tax liability.

Lodging you BAS is simply a matter of accessing the ATO's business portal or, if you prefer, sending a paper document through the mail. If you meet certain requirements (for example, opt to report and pay quarterly or use the predetermined instalments) then you will simply receive a quarterly instalment notice instead of a BAS.

Due dates for your BAS are either at the end of each quarter (for quarterly reporting) or by the 21st of the following month (for monthly reporting).

After Lodgement

After lodging tax returns and/or statements, the ATO will process it accordingly and issue a Notice of Assessment. This is an itemised statement of the amount of tax owing or the amount of the tax refund entitlement based on the information provided in the tax return. Tax owing will be required to be paid by the nominated due date, and tax refunds are automatically paid into your bank account via Electronic Funds Transfer.

If any mistakes have been made in the preparation of the tax return, they must be rectified and corrected. Contacting the ATO is the first step in this process. They may simply then be able to update your records, but in some cases a variation might be required. If you use a registered tax agent, they can lodge a variation on your behalf.

Tax Preparation Checklist

This checklist will help you make sure you have everything you need for preparing your tax return.


  • Tax File Number (TFN) and Bank account details
  • Last year's Notice of Assessment
  • Private Health Insurance details
  • Medical receipts for expenses (if over $2120)
  • Your Spouse's details
  • Any dependant's' details including name, date of birth, and legal responsibilities
    • Evidence of school expenses (primary and secondary) eg computer, textbooks etc.
    • Baby Bonus
  • Location - if you live in a remote area you may be eligible for an offset
  • Records of any sales/purchases of shares, property, or business


  • PAYG summary/ies
  • Pension details/government allowances
  • Bank/building society interest earned (as a bank statement)
  • Dividend statements from any owned shares
  • Rental property income from any investment properties
  • Business income details
  • Details of any other form of income earned
    • Foreign income
    • Partnership distribution
    • Lump sum payments eg termination payment


  • Any work-related expenses eg uniform, tools, fees, training/education, laundry etc.
  • Any motor vehicle expenses (if no logbook, then estimation of km's travelled)
  • Other travel expenses
  • Investment expenses, such as bank fees, financial advisor fees etc.
    • Interest/fees for borrowing money for investment purposes
    • Asset purchases/sales agreements
  • Rental property expenses for any investment properties eg rates, interest, repairs/maintenance, depreciation etc.
    • Date when you purchased property
    • Details of when property was rented
    • Loan interest statement
    • Agent fees
    • Insurance statement
  • Tax agent fees
  • Charitable donations

You can download a PDF version of the checklist below so that you can print it out and check it off as you go.

Download the Checklist here

When to Ask for Help

Most people delay asking the professionals for help until they've gotten into trouble, or until they no longer have the time to deal with their tax. However, by this stage you could have lost thousands of dollars in potential tax refunds, so it's better to hire a professional accountant or tax agent as soon as you have more to consider than just your work income.

And additionally, choosing a finance service that can handle your accounting, investment, insurance and finance needs from one organisation will make your life much easier come tax time, so it's worth finding a service that specialises in these areas for your industry.