Another year has come around for us to lodge our tax returns. If you are lodging yourself this will be due by October 31. If using a tax agent they could have extensions up to May next year.
The tax office is advising agents not to rush and lodge returns before the end of July. This allows them to have all prefill information from wages, interest and dividends uploaded. Employers had until July 14 to finalise their Single Touch Payroll details. You should receive a warning when completing your tax return if the details have not yet been finalised. If this is the case, changes could be made to your prefilled wage details.
New this year is a deduction for the cost of COVID-19 tests provided they were required for work related purposes. You need to have kept a record such as a receipt to prove you incurred the cost and the amount was not reimbursed by your employer.
If you received a COVID-19 Disaster Payment due to being required to isolate and unable to work, this amount is not taxable and should not be included in your tax return. However if you received a Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment which was administered through Services Australia, this is taxable. You would have received advice from Services Australia confirming the amounts you received. This amount will need to be manually added to your tax return as it will not be shown in the prefill details.
Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments received for flooding events earlier in the year are not assessable income but are also not exempt. If you have carried forward losses from an earlier year you need to reduce the loss amount by the amount received. If you received the Disaster Recovery Allowance this is taxable income and will need to be included in your return.
The low and middle income tax offset has increased by $420 this year. To be eligible your taxable income must be less than $126,000.
If you are not sure what expenses can be claimed the Tax Office has specific occupation guides to help you. Remember the expenses must be in connection to your occupation, must not be private in nature and must not have been reimbursed by your employer.
Other items changing for this coming year include the removal of the $450 threshold for super guarantee eligibility. This will mean many casuals will now receive employer superannuation contributions. For employees under 18 years of age the needing to work more than 30 hours in a week rule has not changed.
The superannuation guarantee rate has increased to 10.5 per cent from 10pc. It may pay to review any salary sacrificing arrangements you have in place to ensure you are still within the limits for the coming year.
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