If you have a tax agent your tax return may be due as late as 15 May, but below are a few reasons why you should not leave your return to the last minute.
Your accountant may get busy
As 15 May is a deadline for individuals and entities (like companies, trusts, partnerships and super funds), this can be the busiest time of year for your accountant.
Change in your circumstances
If you or your spouse are working less (or more) or you are thinking of buying property, investing, starting a business, retiring etc, getting up to date with your tax returns can help plan for the future.
Changes to tax laws
Even if your circumstances are the same, the tax laws change every year. And while you probably will hear a summary of big changes on the news, your accountant should be aware of the details. Some accountants try to let clients know, but you are the one who cares the most about your tax affairs (or you should!). While your accountant wants to do their best for you, they won’t care as much as you about an extra $300 in tax you could have saved.
One example for the 2013 year was the Private Health Insurance changes. High income clients ‘in the know’ prepaid their premiums for a year, so didn’t have to pay back part or all of the 30% reduction in their private health premium.
Take advantage of tax planning
Planning for tax is best done at the start of the tax year. If you don’t plan correctly, it is usually difficult to achieve the same outcome.
Receive your refund sooner
If you are due a refund, why not receive this earlier rather than later. It always baffles me seeing a client who knows they are due a large refund but doesn’t lodge their tax return until the last minute.
Save for your tax payment
If you have a payment due, why not know in advance what it is so that you can plan for it. If you lodge your return earlier, the ATO will usually give you an extended due date for payment.
For example, if you don’t have a tax agent, payments are due 21 November (three weeks after the 31 October deadline) regardless of when you lodge your return. If you have a tax agent, this date may be 2 March if you lodge early (if you lodge on the last day, the latest payment date possible is 5 June).