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My refund brings all the boys to the yard….

And damn right, it’s better than yours

Why is it that the 1st of July brings out all the tax possessed individuals?  Was it a full moon?  Were the planets aligning?  Was there some kind of astrological shift that I was unaware of?

No – none of the above.  So the 1st of July should not create panic for people ready to lodge their tax return.  Nothing is due to the tax office on the 1st of July, nor the 2nd of July…in fact individuals have until the 31st of October to lodge their tax return.  So take a deep breathe and relax.  Put your feet up, grab a drink and here are some things to think about before you submit your tax return.

1. Business owners are not required to issue payment summaries (back in my day we called these group certificates – now I am showing my age aren’t I?) to their employees until the 14th of July.  This allows business owners to review, reconcile and cross check wages, tax and superannuation.  This process is not a 5 minute process.  Don’t rush them before the 14th of July. You want them to get this right.

2. Business owners are not required to issue a Taxable Payment Annual Return (TPAR = code for payroll information!) to the Tax Office until August.  So even though you have been issued your payment summary, the business hasn’t passed that information to the Tax Office until later.  So data matching is not available until August.

3. Similarly, other Government bodies (think Centrelink) and Financial Institutions (think banks) have not reported their data to the Tax Office by the 1st of July.  So if you have income from either of these streams such as family assistance, paid maternity leave, bank interest – the Tax Office cannot verify your information yet.

4. Health Funds have not issued their end of year private health insurance summary.  You need the information on that form to include in your individual tax return.

5. Lastly – every man and their dog who was possessed by the full moon/planets aligning/astrological shift who is unaware of why you don’t need to lodge your tax return on the 1st of July is trying to download the ATO tax return software.  So you won’t be able to log in even if you wanted to (or even if it was worth your time more to the point).

So whilst I would never recommend leaving it until the 31st of October at 11:59pm to lodge your tax return, I also don’t recommend that the 1st of July is the best time to lodge it either.

Don’t book an appointment with your tax agent for the 1st of July – as they will (or they should) ask you for all of this information and probably more – meaning you will have to go away and wait until you receive the information and then book another appointment when you have it.

If you run a business yourself – then make sure your accounts are accurate, that they make sense, that you have answers ready for any potential questions, that your BAS’s have all been lodged, bank accounts are reconciled back to physical statements and that you have any source documentation at your fingertips.

Preparation is the key to success – not being the first in the gate. The size of the refund is irrelevant if it is incorrect.

Stacey Price is a Chartered Accountant, BAS Agent and self confessed numbers geek.  Founder of Healthy Business Finances – wanting to share her love of numbers with anyone who will listen.

**Please note Stacey is not a tax agent and in no way shape or form is this article a representation of taxation advice.  This is Stacey’s opinion on the mad rush to get tax returns lodged on the 1st of July.