When it comes near to the end of the financial year, there is no need to approach the filing of your tax return with a feeling of dread and get completely stressed out. Follow these few simple tips to have a stress free tax time.
Organise your record keeping system
You can choose to do this electronically, and there are a number of software packages available for you to use if you wish, but also organise your paper records at the same time. Filing all your records by date is probably the best way to help with tax returns, but do ensure that you use a logical and methodical system that can be easily understood. You don’t have to use a complicated double entry bookkeeping system, a simple spreadsheet or ledger noting all income and outgoings will suffice, and a filing cabinet with dividers will help keep the paperwork organised and easily accessible.
Set aside time each month
We are used to booking out appointments at work and at home when we need to attend a meeting or social event, so make a regular date with yourself to get your monthly accounts up to date. This will ensure that you don’t leave everything till the last minute, causing you to panic, end up rushing and make a mistake.
Spending an hour a week or a few hours each month to make sure that you have recorded all your incoming and outgoing finances, collated all bills and receipts, and checked bank and building society statements as well as other investments will keep you on track. So when it comes to filing your return, you will have everything at hand and there will be no panic over missing documentation.
Keep all relevant documentation in a safe place
Get into the habit of keeping all receipts for services or goods you buy, along with paid bills for heating, lighting and insurance, rent and so on. Get a storage file with compartments or dividers so you can get all your receipts in date order, and keep an up to date list of your outgoings. Do the same for your outgoings such as payments to employees or any payments on behalf of employees such as superannuation payments.
Bank account details, credit card statements and financial information, including any profit and loss and a balance sheet for a business, should be kept, along with previous tax return information. If you are in business, make sure that you keep records of any legal agreements such as contracts, insurance papers and so on, and seek help from a tax professional if you are unsure about what records to keep.
Book an appointment with a tax professional
It is worth taking the time to go and speak with a tax accountant or agent who can advise you on what other items are tax deductible. They can provide help and support to ensure you have not only maximised your tax return but completed the process smoothly. They will also be able to advise on when to submit your tax return, because timing is key, particularly if you are heading for a tax bill.