Blog
Jun 10
Ultimate guide to free tax filing.

Ultimate Guide to Free Tax Filing

The tax season can feel a bit like finding your way through a maze – especially when you are aiming to keep costs down by looking for free tax filing options.

Whether you are a seasoned business owner or new to the game, understanding how to file your taxes while keeping expenses to a minimum can make a significant difference to your bottom line.

Read on to find out more about the essentials of tax filing, from key terms you need to know to important deadlines and the documents you will need to have on hand.

Understanding the Basics of Tax Filing

Before getting deeper into free tax filing, learning the basics of the process can save you time, stress, and money.

Key Tax Terms Explained

Here are some financial terms you need to know:

  • Tax Return. The form you submit to the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) detailing your income, deductions, and the taxes you’ve already paid throughout the financial year.
  • Deductions. These are expenses you can subtract from your total income before you can calculate the amount of tax you owe. For business owners, this could include business expenses, home office costs, and more.
  • Assessment. The ATO’s calculation of your tax obligation or refund after processing your tax return.

Important Tax Deadlines to Remember

In Australia, the financial year runs from July 1 to June 30 the following year.

In Australia, the financial year runs from July 1 to June 30 the following year. You will usually have until October 31 to lodge your tax return for the previous financial year.

However, if you are working with a registered tax agent, you might be eligible for an extension.

Documents Needed for Filing Your Taxes

Gathering your documents before you start the filing process can streamline everything significantly. Here’s a checklist to get you started:

  • Payment Summaries. Details of your income from employers or government payments.
  • Financial Statements. Detailed financial statements are key to accurately computing your business’ tax payables.
  • Receipts for Deductions. Keep those receipts for any expenses you are planning to claim as deductions from your taxable income.
  • Bank Statements. Useful for identifying any interest earned throughout the year.

Securing these basic things makes filing taxes easier. Remember, the goal of free tax filing is to claim all the deductions you can to reduce your overall tax bill.

ATO Free Tax Filing Services

The tax season can be easier for SMEs in Australia because of the efforts of the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) to make tax filing as painless as possible.

One of ATO’s best digital services is myTax, designed to streamline the tax filing process for individuals and sole traders.

myTax: The ATO’s Online Filing Tool

myTax is the ATO’s online service for lodging individual tax returns.

It is user-friendly and can easily guide you through the process with pre-filled information and prompts for deductions and income.

Features and benefits.

Aside from having an e-file, myTax is packed with features designed to simplify the tax filing process:

  1. Pre-filled information. myTax automatically fills in parts of your return with information the ATO already has, saving you time and reducing errors.
  2. Tips for what to deduct. Get suggestions and assistance on the deductions you can claim based on your job and industry so you can maximise your tax savings.
  3. Real-time estimates. See an estimate of your refund or how much you owe as you complete your return, so you understand your tax position instantly.
  4. 24/7 accessibility. File your taxes at any time from anywhere, as long as you have internet access.

How to access and use myTax.

Getting started with myTax is pretty straightforward:

  1. Create or log in to your myGov account and link it to the ATO. This is your gateway to accessing myTax and other government services.
  2. Once linked, select the ATO service, and you will find the option to start or continue your tax return with myTax.
  3. myTax guides you through each section of your return, from income to deductions and offsets. Use the pre-filled information where available and add any additional details required.
  4. Before lodging, review your return for accuracy. myTax will highlight any errors or omissions, giving you a chance to correct them. Once you are satisfied, submit your return directly to the ATO.

For SME owners, especially sole traders, myTax offers a streamlined, efficient way to manage tax filing, freeing up more time to focus on growing your business.

The ability to manage your taxes from pretty much anywhere.

ATO App: Tax Filing at Your Fingertips

The ability to manage your taxes from pretty much anywhere is a game-changer for busy SME owners, and thanks to the ATO app, this can be your new reality.

Mobile tax filing options.

The ATO app is a tool that allows you to lodge your tax return, track its progress, and manage your super directly from your mobile device, with features like:

  • MyDeductions tool. This feature is perfect for keeping track of your expenses throughout the year.

Take a photo of your receipts and categorise them, so that come tax time, you can upload these directly into your tax return or share them with your accountant.

  • Lodgment. For simpler tax affairs, you can lodge your return directly through the app. It’s quick and secure and you can do it from anywhere, anytime.

 

Pre-filling Services and Their Advantages

One of the ATO’s most efficient features is pre-filling. It’s like having an assistant prep your paperwork before you even sit down to tackle your tax return.

How pre-filling speeds up the process.

Pre-filling puts in information the ATO already has about you into your tax return. This can include:

  • Wages and salaries
  • Bank interest
  • Dividends
  • Health insurance information

Pre-filling saves you time and also reduces errors. No need to manually enter information or worry about missing important details – allowing you to lodge your return with confidence, knowing that it’s accurate and complete.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Filing Your Taxes for Free

Again, tax season doesn’t have to be a headache. Thanks to the ATO, you’ve got some top-notch options for filing your taxes without breaking the bank.

Choosing the Right Free Filing Service

You’ll want to pick the free filing service that suits your needs. The ATO offers a couple of solid choices, but for most SME owners, myTax is your best option since it’s designed for individuals and sole traders, and is as user-friendly as it gets.

If your business structure is more complex, you can check out the ATO’s Business Portal or seek advice to make sure you are using the right platform.

Preparing Your Tax Documents

Gather all your tax documents including your:

  • Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Income statements
  • Records of any business expenses you are claiming
  • Details of super contributions

Having everything on hand makes the process smoother and quicker.

Navigating the Tax Filing Process

Here are the other steps that you must accomplish as you file your taxes.

Registration.

If you haven’t registered yet, you’ll need to create a myGov account and link it to the ATO. This allows you to access myTax and other services.

Once you are set up, you are good to go for future tax years too.

Filling out forms.

With myTax, the ATO has done a lot to simplify the process. The service pre-fills your information, pulling data from employers, banks, and government agencies.

You’ll need to check that everything’s correct, fill in any gaps, and add any additional income or deductions. Thankfully, myTax guides you through each step.

Remember that keeping good records throughout the year.

Review and submission.

Before you hit that “submit” button, take a moment to review your return. myTax will flag any oddities or errors, giving you a chance to correct them.

Once you are confident that everything’s accurate, submit your return directly through the platform. You’ll get a receipt number, and then wait until ATO is done processing your tax filing. You can then track the progress of your return through myGov.

Remember that keeping good records throughout the year and staying organised can make it easier to do your taxes. If you encounter any problem, the ATO’s website is packed with resources, or you can reach out to a tax professional for help.

Tips for Maximizing Your Tax Return

As a business owner, you are always looking for ways to save money, and tax time is no exception. The ATO offers some handy deductions and credits that can boost your return, but it is also too easy to commit common mistakes.

Here’s how to navigate the tax season like a pro and set yourself up for success every time.

Tax Deductions and Credits You Shouldn’t Miss

You are probably aware that you can claim a range of business expenses, but are you making the most of them?

Everything from home office costs, equipment purchases, and even certain vehicle expenses can be deductible if they are directly related to your income. Don’t forget about professional development courses or subscriptions to services you use at work.

And credits – they are like gold. The ATO offers various tax offsets that can directly reduce the amount of tax you owe.

For instance, the small business income tax offset can deduct up to AU$1,000 from your tax bill if you are a sole trader or have a share of net small business income from a partnership or trust.

Avoiding Common Tax Filing Mistakes

One of the biggest errors you can commit is not keeping your records accurate. You have to keep the receipts for every claimable expense for five years – no exceptions.

Over-claiming is also prohibited. It might be tempting to stretch those deductions, but if you can’t justify it, don’t claim it.

The ATO’s data-matching technology is very sophisticated, so play it safe and stay honest.

Another common mistake is missing deadlines. The ATO is pretty clear about when things are due and late submissions can lead to penalties, so mark your calendar accordingly. 

Effective tax planning is a year round activity.

Planning for Next Year’s Tax Season

The end of the tax year shouldn’t be the first time you think about taxes. Effective tax planning is a year-round activity.

Consider setting aside a portion of your income for taxes regularly, so you are not caught off guard. Review your financials quarterly to adjust for any significant changes in income or expenses.

Investing in good tax software can also be a game-changer, automating the work and making sure you are always on top of your financial situation. If you’re not comfortable working with one, consider consulting tax professionals as they can offer a tailored solution that could save you money in the long run.

FAQs and Conclusion

FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about tax prep and filing.

Can I really file my taxes for free in Australia?

Absolutely! The ATO’s myTax platform was especially developed to help individuals and sole traders file their taxes online at no cost. It’s user-friendly and directly linked to the ATO, keeping your financial data in safe hands.

What documents do I need to file my taxes?

You’ll need your Tax File Number (TFN), any payment summaries or income statements, documents revealing your business income and expenses, and information on any deductions you are planning to claim.

How do I know if I’m eligible for free tax filing?

Being a sole trader or an individual taxpayer makes you eligible. Otherwise, consulting with a tax professional might be a better option.

What if I make a mistake on my tax return?

You can amend your tax return online. If in doubt, it’s best to seek advice from a tax professional.

Conclusion

Free tax filing with the ATO’s myTax is a straightforward process for SME owners in Australia, easing the tax season’s burden. Start early to guarantee accuracy and maximise deductions.

With our sixteen years (and counting) worth of expertise, Remote Staff is ready to connect you to skilled Filipino professionals who can manage tax-related tasks and support your business’s financial goals.

Click here to schedule a callback with Remote Staff. Let’s get started today.

Want specific AI Prompts to help you automate processes? Get the Full AI list here.
How about a list of the Top Business Apps that could take your company to the next level this 2024? Head over here.
Whenever you are ready to Hire World-Class, High Performing, Full-Time Virtual Staff at 40%-60% Cost Savings with Lifetime Support head over here.
View our 1,000 Fully vetted, highly talented virtual staff who can take the more tedious tasks off your hands here.

+ posts

Darren Aragon is a multifaceted writer with a background in Information Technology, beginning his career in research at Pen Qatar and transitioning through customer service to a significant role at Absolute Service, Inc. His journey into freelance writing in 2021 has seen him excel across various niches, showcasing his adaptability and deep understanding of audience engagement.

About The Author

Darren Aragon is a multifaceted writer with a background in Information Technology, beginning his career in research at Pen Qatar and transitioning through customer service to a significant role at Absolute Service, Inc. His journey into freelance writing in 2021 has seen him excel across various niches, showcasing his adaptability and deep understanding of audience engagement.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

thirteen + 17 =

Get Your Free Virtual Staff Toolkit

Step by Step Guide on how to effectively and efficiently build, manage your virtual staff.