Been Doing Your Taxes Yourself? Here's Why Using An Accountant Might Be A Better Choice

Posted on: 27 April 2015

Has anyone ever had a good time while doing their taxes? You probably thought you had kissed those complicated numerical exercises goodbye when you finished your last maths class at school. But no—at the end of each and every financial year you find yourself either filling in one of those manual tax return forms you get from the Post Office, or maybe using that somewhat annoying online lodgement service. Sure, it's free to use either of these methods, and while you eventually get the darn thing finished, it's never as straightforward as you were hoping.

Just because you got it finished, it doesn't necessarily mean it's been finished in the best way possible, namely the way that will maximise your refund. Are you sure that you're getting the highest refund you might be entitled to? A tax accountant will be able to let you know.

Do You Know All Your Allowable Deductions?

It's not as though the Australian Tax Office will be eagerly awaiting your tax return, ready to let you know about all the deductions you've neglected to apply for, before inviting you to submit your return again. If you didn't request all the deductions you're entitled to, the ATO assumes that you didn't want them. Each area of employment, and indeed each legitimate method for gaining income, has its own set of allowable deductions—some of which can be oddly specific.

These allowable deductions are subject to change, and certainly have over the years. It's difficult for the average person to know exactly what is permitted. Perhaps you've been doing your own taxes for years, and you're entitled to far more than you're aware. An accredited tax accountant receives notification about each change to allowable deductions, meaning they're always armed with the latest information to maximise your refund.

Do You Have Additional Income?

Lodging a tax return can be rather more complicated if you receive an income from a source other than a salaried position. If you have a Family Trust or any other kind of investment from which you receive dividends, an accountant will be able to give you information about how to best manage these other streams of income. An accountant who provides you with information about managing your investments needs to be have an Australian Financial Services Licence, but it's easy enough to check their accreditation.

What About A Comparison?

If you're still unsure about whether or not using a tax accountant is the best choice for you, there's an easy way to be sure. Like most people, your financial situation probably doesn't change that much from year to year. Your income remains more or less the same, and you've been claiming the same deductions you assume you're entitled to. If you've been using the ATO's online or manual lodgement service and have been receiving roughly the same level of refund each year, why not try an accountant next year? If they're not able to identify any additional deductions you were unaware of, and are not able to increase your refund, then you'll know you were doing everything correctly. Having said that, it's rather unlikely that they won't be able to find anything extra.

Perhaps it's the actual cost of an accountant that's putting you off. Remember that it's a highly competitive field (particularly at tax time), and you will certainly be able to find an accountant that offers a great service at an attractive price. And don't forget that the cost of your accountant's visit is fully deductible when it comes to next year's return!

For more information, contact a company like Boyd & Associates.