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Six top tips for checking your Tax Return

TaxWe all lodge Tax Returns (or at least most of us do), but how many of us know what we are lodging? When the accountant sends you your company’s (or other entity’s) Accounts and Tax Return, how do you know what to look or check for before signing on the bottom line?

Consider the following tips during your review:

1. Small Business Tax Break – If you purchased new eligible business assets (over $1,000 for small business entities) between 13 December 2008 and 31 December 2009, make sure you or your accountant take up the Small Business Tax Break. The tax break allows your business entity an additional 50% deduction within your Return. Application of this tax break is clearly distinguished by the Small business and general business tax break label on your entity’s Return.

2. Depreciation schedule – The value of a depreciation schedule for any entity is often understated. Firstly, check the schedule (it’s itemised 99% of the time) for any assets which are no longer used by the entity and hence may need to be removed from your schedule by writing off the balance. Secondly, check whether you are eligible to apply the simpler (and often higher) depreciation rules and rates, allowing your assets to be deducted quicker.

3. Check how your queries were attended to and if you understand them – If you had queries for your accountant upon submitting your data for completion, make sure you understand how they were dealt with to ensure you understand the tax treatment or outcome of your actions as well as allow you to appreciate the tax consequences should you wish to act similarly in the future.

4. Ask for schedules to Tax Return labels if required – Depending on your accountant, you may be provided with a summarised version of your Tax Return. Make an effort to link all the labels back to your original core data. Should this not be possible given the Return provided, ask your accountant for schedules or explanations showing the makeup of a particular label.

5. Losses carried forward and applied – Depending on prior years, you may have carried forward tax or capital losses. Make sure this year’s Return has last year’s tax and/or capital losses amounts brought forward. Losses are sometimes missed on rollover of data files or inadvertently omitted by incoming accountants.

6. Compare your Return to your core data – This is probably the hardest technical step to perform but definitely a MUST. In theory, your core data needs to be represented within your Return. But in practice, differences occur due to adjustments performed at year end by accountants, for various items such as depreciation, loan accounts and nondeductible items. To aid your review, ask your accountant for adjusting journals to ensure you see what the differences are made up of as well as be able to update your software system to align with the Return to be lodged.

So before you sign off on your Accounts and Tax Return, make sure you know what you are signing, as it may just come back and haunt you for up to 5 years. Find out more at www.fletchertaxaccountants.com.au

What other things do you look out for when reviewing your Accounts & Tax Return? Please share your own tips by commenting below.