Frequently Asked Questions
Find the answers to commonly asked questions about tax, our services, and tips on claiming deductions below. If you can’t find the answer to your question, or have a specific question or comment please contact us. We are more than happy to help.
DO I HAVE TO LODGE A TAX RETURN?
Most people need to lodge a tax return each year. If you had tax taken from any income you received during the financial year, you need to lodge a tax return. However, there are certain exceptions based on age, income and expenses. Your best bet is to come in and have a chat with us and we can talk you through it.
WILL I BE PENALISED FOR LODGING MY RETURN LATE?
You should make every effort to lodge your return by the due date. If you are late, you may receive a fine or interest penalty charge from the ATO. Another benefit of being an ITP client means that we may be able to help you minimise charges with our lodgement extension.
CAN I PREPARE MY OWN TAX RETURN ONLINE?
Yes, we offer an online tax service giving you access to our expertise from anywhere in the world. A registered ITP tax agent will take you step by step through the process online and ensure you receive the best return possible. We can help you out over the phone and via email too. Tax refunds typically take around two weeks and you can log back in at any stage to check the progress of your return. Check it out at www.itptaxonline.com.
CAN I HAVE YOUR FEE TAKEN FROM MY REFUND?
Yes, our fees can be taken from your refund. Extra charges may apply if you choose to receive your refund by cheque, or if you have unpaid fees like HECS or DOCS. These additional fees will be around $30-$40.
I only worked a few weeks this year. Will I get all my tax back?
Taxes are calculated based on the whole financial year. If you earnt less than the tax-free threshold (currently at $18,200) you may get your tax back, depending on your circumstances.
DO YOU GUARANTEE YOUR WORK?
We’ve built a proud reputation of excellence over the past 40 years. And it shows – ITP was voted Australia’s most trusted accounting and tax service. Every return is prepared by our highly-trained specialist consultants, and double checked prior to lodgement. Every legitimate deduction or rebate will be claimed; we will leave no stone unturned. As an ITP client, you’ll be able to seek tax advice throughout the year without charge too! If for any reason we make an error that results in additional tax or penalties imposed by the ATO over and above your correct position we will pay that penalty or interest. We guarantee every aspect of your finances will be held in strict confidence.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?
At ITP, we provide tax services for a range of individuals and businesses. We are a full-service accountancy, without the full-service cost. Our price structure is based on how complex the tax return is and all of our offices can provide a free, obligation-free quote. For online assisted tax return preparation, we will contact you with a quote by email, phone or fax after you fill out the online form. We won’t get started on your tax return until we have contacted you to discuss your return. Our fees are fully tax deductible in the year paid.
WHAT IS YOUR FEE POLICY?
Our aim is to provide the best possible service for the most reasonable fee. Our fees include;
- On the spot service;
- Personal attention from one of our specialist consultants;
- Complete industry checklists to search for every legal deduction;
- Final checking, recording and lodgement of your return; and
- All year advice about your return.
Our fees are fully tax deductible in the year paid.
WHAT FORMS DO I NEED TO FILL IN FOR AN EMPLOYER?
Your employer should provide you with a Tax File Number (TFN) Declaration Form when you first start your job. You will need to complete this form and include your personal TFN and return it to your employer.
HOW LONG WILL MY REFUND TAKE?
Once you’ve lodged your tax return, we’ll let you know if you’re entitled to a refund or if you have a tax debt to pay. Most refunds will be issued within 12 business days if you lodged online, or up to 50 business days if you lodged a paper return. If you provided us with valid Australian bank account details in your return, your refund will be paid directly to your account.
If your return is delayed it may be for a number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:
- you have recently lodged returns for previous years, either on their own or with the current year’s tax return
- you currently have a debt
- we need to check information with other Australian Government agencies such as Centrelink or Child Support Program.
If you haven’t received your refund after more than 21 days, get in touch with your ITP consultant and we’ll chase it up for you.
HOW DOES THE SENIOR AUSTRALIAN TAX OFFSET AFFECT ME?
As a senior you may be eligible for the Australian pension and tax offsets that go with it. You may be able to reduce the amount of tax and Medicare levy you pay and in some cases, eligible seniors may not even have to lodge a tax return.
CAN YOU PREPARE MULTIPLE YEARS RETURNS AT THE SAME TIME?
Your ITP consultant can help you prepare and lodge all past year’s tax returns in the one appointment. While you will receive your tax refund for the current year within the normal period, you might have to wait a little longer to receive refunds for previous years.
If you have more than one tax return outstanding, or have not complied with a request to lodge your tax return, you may have to pay a ‘failure to lodge on time’ penalty that is issued by the Australian Taxation Office. Get up to date with your records for peace of mind today.
WHAT DOES A SUPER FAST REFUND MEAN?
Super Fast Refund is a commitment that we’ll make every effort to get your tax return back to you as soon as possible. Of course any delays experienced by the Tax Office are out of our hands, but we are committed to do everything in our power to get your refund back in the quickest time possible!
CAN ITP HELP ME SETUP A COMPANY AND LODGE MY COMPANY TAX RETURNS?
If you’re just getting started, starting a business involves a number of tax obligations and registrations you need to consider. To register your business you’ll need to get a Tax File Number (if you’ve selected an entity other than sole trader), an Australian Business Number or ACN, registering your business name and getting an AUSkey.
Tax registrations include GST, PAYGW, PAYGI and FBT to name a few. Depending on the nature of your business some of these will be compulsory.
ITP can help by sorting this out for you – we can set them up on your behalf, or provide the support and advice to help you do it yourself.
I HAVE RECEIVED A DIVIDEND STATEMENT, DO I NEED TO DECLARE THIS AS INCOME?
Yes if you are paid or credited with a dividend or a non-share dividend, you should receive a dividend statement. You will need to include these and any other interest earned on bank accounts, even if it’s just a few dollars, as income. The Australian Tax Office now has data-matching services with banks to cross-reference the data they receive from you, so it’s important that they match. We’ll help by prompting you to include this in your ITP consultation.
DO YOU HOLD TAX TRAINING COURSES EACH YEAR?
Want to be part of Australia’s leading accounting and tax firm? Get your career off to a great start with ITP’s tax training courses. We’ll teach you the theory and practice of income tax preparation including the latest tax changes and how to engage with, and get the most out of your clients. The course involves 16 lessons plus two exams and we run courses across Australia between February and June. Only successful graduates from the first course are invited to continue on and attend the second.
These courses are held at our head offices across Australia over 10 weeks. They usually run over two nights per week with a further two week computer training course for graduates. In selected areas, some courses run full-time during the day if you prefer. Course fees vary in each area but are usually between $500-$700. Check out the head office website in your state to find out more.
I RECEIVED MONEY FROM THE GOV’T DURING THE YEAR, DO I INCLUDE IT IN MY TAX RETURN?
Here’s the thing, some government payments and allowances are included as taxable income while others are not. To be sure you’re not leaving anything out, simply bring it all into an ITP branch when you are getting your tax return processed and we will figure out what does and doesn’t need to be included. Just as a quick tip; any taxable payments such as age pensions, Newstart allowance, youth allowance or Austudy will need to be included in your tax return.
I have a working visa. What do I need so I can work in Australia?
I LIVE OVERSEAS. HOW CAN I PREPARE MY AUSTRALIAN TAX RETURN?
ITP has a number of overseas client tax experts that can handle your tax return, or any tax issues you may have while overseas. We can also help if you have income or assets in countries that have Double-Tax arrangements with Australia. Email our ITP overseas tax experts for the latest advice (email link to: [email protected])
WHERE IS YOUR NEAREST OFFICE TO WHERE I LIVE OR WORK?
You will find more than 250 ITP offices open for business throughout Australia. Come in to discuss your tax return and tax related affairs for a quick, reliable and affordably priced service. As an ITP client, you will be able to discuss all matters relating to your personal tax affairs throughout the year without charge.
Find your nearest ITP tax office with our online branch locator. If you can’t find an office in your area try expanding your search to the nearest bigger town or city. Use the map or postcode to find your nearest office.
WHAT HOURS ARE YOUR OFFICES OPEN DURING THE YEAR?
Many offices are open all year round to serve our clients.
During tax time (July – August), all ITP offices are open five days a week, plus after hours and Saturdays. You may like to make an appointment to avoid waiting times, otherwise feel free to drop in.
From September – October, most branches have the same trading hours. Some offices that are new or in remote areas may open with reduced hours.
From November – December, most offices will reduce their hours and possibly some days, operating by appointment only.
From January – June, offices will reduce their hours and some close until 1 July. If you need urgent support and your local ITP office is closed, Area Head Offices will be able to assist you.
CAN I CLAIM ANY DEDUCTIONS IF I HAVE NO RECEIPTS?
Understanding when you need a receipt to claim a tax deduction is important to ensure you don’t pay more tax than necessary. There are deductions that you must have written evidence to claim a tax deduction based on expenses incurred. For example, if your total claim for work-related expenses is $300 or more, you must have written evidence to prove your claims. But, if you don’t have receipts, all is not lost!
As long as you have documentation that includes: the name of the supplier, amount of the expense, what the goods or services are, date the expense was incurred, the following documents are also acceptable as written evidence:
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- BPAY reference numbers
- Email receipts
- PAYG payment summary
- Paper or electronic copies of original documents
Never lose a receipt again with ITP’s free smartphone app. You can instantly snap, sort and save your receipts on your phone, send your details directly to us and stay organised all year round.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A PAYMENT SUMMARY FROM A JOB?
If you’ve lost your payment summary you can get the information you need by:
- requesting a copy from your employer or payer
- requesting a letter from your employer or payer stating details of your income and the amount of tax withheld
- reviewing your payslips, time-sheets and bank statements.
If you are already a client with ITP, we may be able to obtain a copy on your behalf. Otherwise, just get in contact with the Tax Office on 13 28 61 to discuss next steps.
CAN I CLAIM TRAVEL FOR MY WORK?
Trips between home and work are generally considered private travel and therefore not tax deductible. But, there are exceptions. Travel between jobs on the same day and travel for work like visiting clients, doing pick-ups or deliveries can be claimed. If you use public transport, then keep all receipts and/or diary records – as they can be claimed as well. If you use your own car, then you need to keep a logbook of all business mileage travelled and car expenses including petrol, repairs, registration, insurance and interest on a car loan. At ITP, we even offer clients a complimentary log-book that you can keep in your vehicle, which makes keeping records much more convenient.
HOW MUCH CAN I CLAIM ON MY MOTOR VEHICLE?
If you’re travelling for business, there are a couple of different ways you can claim expenses for your motor vehicle. To maximise the potential claim you should use the cents per kilometre method, or maintain a daily mileage log book for at least three months of the year and a record vehicle expenses for the full year. At ITP, we offer clients a complimentary log-book that you can keep in your vehicle, which makes keeping records much more convenient. We also have an online log book (link) option. We can help you to figure out what you can and can’t claim according to your individual situation and also which claiming method is right for you.
CAN I CLAIM MY WORK UNIFORM AS A TAX DEDUCTION?
Deductions for uniforms can only be claimed if the work uniform is specific and identifiable to your organisation (such as chef’s checked pants) or protects you from injury while you are at work. You can’t claim the cost of a plain uniform or conventional clothing, such as white shirt and black pants or skirt which is commonly worn by waiters and waitresses, even if your employer tells you to wear them. If your clothing has a company logo on it, then you’re able to claim it as a tax deduction.
WHAT DEDUCTIONS CAN I CLAIM IF I’M STUDYING?
You may be able to claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your study is work-related or if you receive a taxable bonded scholarship. You cannot make claims for deductions for courses unless it leads to a formal qualification, and has a sufficient connections to your current employment.
Below is a list that the Tax Office allows you to claim for self-education:
- accommodation and meals (if away from home overnight)
- computer consumables
- course fees
- decline in value for depreciating assets (cost exceeds $300)
- purchase of equipment or technical instruments costing $300 or less
- equipment repairs
- home office running costs
- internet usage (excluding connection fees)
- parking fees (only for work-related claims)
- phone calls
- student union fees
- student services and amenities fees
- trade, professional, or academic journals
- travel to-and-from place of education (only for work-related claims)
Some travel for journeys cannot be claimed, but you may be able to offset the cost of these journeys against the $250 reduction.
WHAT FAMILY DEDUCTIONS ARE AVAILABLE?
Your family is a tax deduction waiting to happen – sounds a bit odd but true all the same. The amount you can claim will depend on the income levels of you and your individual family members, the age of your children and any income already received through Centrelink payments. So let’s make this easy and just bring all these details with you when you come along to your local ITP branch to lodge your tax return.
HOW MUCH CAN I CLAIM IF I BUY A COMPUTER?
If you buy a computer that will be used for both work and for personal use, you will need to apportion the amount you claim. For example, if you use your computer for work use half the time, you can deduct a 50% portion of depreciation cost. You’ll also need to take into consideration the expected life of the computer.