Some experts think that making mistakes in the best way to learn and it makes sense. If you screw up a report at your job and get yelled at, you’re not going to repeat that mistakes. But sometimes mistakes are too risky. Take your ATO tax returns, for example: would you want to make a mistake on them and risk your refund? Of course not!
Fortunately, most common ATO tax returns mistakes can be caught by double checking everything and going over this simple list before you lodge:
- Forgotten income. Did you switch jobs this year? Did you earn interest from a bank account? And did you include them on your ATO tax returns? Forgotten income is the most common mistake, especially when it’s easily forgotten, like a small amount of bank interest. So make sure you consider all income sources and claim them.
- Forgotten deductions and offsets. You’d think people would remember something that helps them with their taxes, but you’re dead wrong. Forgetting your tax deductions is the second most common ATO tax returns mistake. And it makes sense, because people don’t always realize that things they have, like rental property expenses, are deductions. Be sure and investigate deductions and offsets before you file, because you might be surprised how many you qualify for.
- Lodging an incomplete form. Did you ever have the teacher in primary school who would deduct points from your test is you failed to write your name at the top? Well, the ATO tax returns are a lot like that. Forget to include your date of birth, signature, or even your tax file number and the ATO deducts points by sending your forms back and withholding your refund. An easy way to make sure every part is filled out is to use e-tax/e-lodge services. Let the computer remember for you!
- Not include Medicare levy information. Remember: if you qualify for the Medicare Levy Surcharge, you need to put that information on your ATO tax returns to get it. The ATO aren’t mind readers, and won’t know otherwise. Always make sure you know what your Medicare levy information is and that it’s up to date, so that your taxes don’t get rejected and so you can see the doctor when you need to!
- Leaving out distributions. If you’re fortunate enough to have a trust, investments, or capital gains, you’re unfortunate enough to have to put that information on your ATO tax returns. Not quite the same as forgotten income–and affecting a smaller number of people–but along the same lines. Remember: if you got money this year from anyone, anywhere, you need to put it on your ATO tax returns.
So there you have it: the 5 most common ATO tax returns mistakes and how to avoid them. Just give this list a glance before you file next year to remind yourself and then double check for everything on it! Don’t wait another 5 months for your refund–learn from mistakes before you make them.