How to prepare for your Tax Appointment and communicate effectively with your Accountant

As seen in Woopi News August 2023

When preparing to do your Tax Return whether you do it yourself or have an accountant prepare it for you, it’s important to store your records in an appropriate manner. Paper documents are ok however they do fade, so having an electronic backup is ideal. Keeping all your receipts and documents littered throughout your emails is not an acceptable way to store your tax records.

When preparing for an appointment with your accountant, consider sending a single email before your meeting with a summary of all the information necessary to complete your return. When deciding what to attach, select the larger receipts and any documents you believe the accountant may want to retain a copy of. There is no need to attach or provide every receipt, list these in the body of the email. Remember that you need to retain all necessary documents to substantiate the content of your tax return for five years in case your return is reviewed or audited by the ATO.

When responding to your accountant’s questions, it’s best not to start a new email thread, reply to their email and put your answers next to each question and send the email when all questions are answered.

Things not to say:

“Just claim the same as last year”. We are required to obtain accurate information and you are required to have a receipt for each deduction or diary evidence for some claims.

“I don’t have any receipts, just claim $300” If you have no receipts, you have no deductions. The $300 amount isn’t an actual threshold you can claim up to without receipts, however, it’s unlikely the ATO would bother auditing you with claims less than $300. Instead, list the things you have purchased and the actual amount you spent. If the item also has a private use component, advise the percentage it’s used for work.

Take care with what you put in writing as accountants are required to keep a copy of this correspondence on your file.

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Stasha Dunn - StaySharp Accounting
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