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Boost your tax return: 8 last-minute tips

There are just two weeks left until the end of the financial year.

Compilation image of people walking across a street and a person holding out fanned cash at the camera to represent tax refund
Tax time is nearly upon us, so it's time to act now and get your finances in order. (Source: Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

With just a few weeks to go until the end of the financial year, you might think it’s too late to knock your tax return into shape. But, even with little time to spare there are last minute ways to maximise your tax refund.

Here are eight tax return-boosting moves you should be making as we head towards June 30.

1. Business owners should look at full expensing

Temporary full expensing allows you to claim an immediate tax deduction for the entire costs of all capital purchases, rather than depreciating the cost over several years, as per previous tax rules. This is great for tech items such as computers, tablets and phones, as well as tools and equipment for tradies, office furniture and even motor vehicles. As the temporary full expensing scheme ends on June 30, this is the last chance to claim this very generous tax break.

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Remember, as well as making a purchase, the asset you acquire also has to be used or available for use in your business by June 30. If you order and pay for an asset between now and June 30 but it isn’t actually delivered until July, you’ll miss out.

Read more from Mark Chapman:

2. Gather written evidence

Make sure you have written evidence, such as receipts, invoices and bank or credit card statements, for everything you intend to claim.

3. Make last minute charitable donations

You can claim a deduction for donations of more than $2 to a registered charity provided you have a receipt for the donation.

4. Prepay some expenses

You can claim a tax deduction this year for expenses which wholly or partly relate to the next financial year. So, if you have some spare cash, consider paying things like union fees, professional subscriptions and annual insurance premiums by June 30 in order to accelerate the deduction.

5. Make a tax deductible super contribution

If you have some spare cash, also look at making a personal contribution into your super fund. Provided the total amount of your contributions (including the contributions made on your behalf by your employer) do not exceed $27,500, this can be a great way to boost your retirement savings and claim a tax deduction for the personal contribution.

The payment must be in your super fund’s bank account by June 30 and you need to advise your super fund that you’ve made the payment by the time you’ve lodge your tax return (your super fund or accountant can give you guidance on how to complete the form and there’s a standard form on the ATO website.

6. Offset capital gains against capital losses

If you’ve disposed of shares or any other form of investment and you know you’ve made a capital gain, take a look at your investment portfolio and consider disposing of any assets which you own which you know are sitting at a loss. The resulting capital losses can be offset against the capital gain.

Be careful though if you sell shares sitting at a loss and then buy them back in the new tax year. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) takes a hard line against so-called “wash sales”. This refers to the sale of an asset before the year end and the purchase of a substantially identical asset immediately after the year end. The ATO regard the purchase and the sale as effectively the same asset and have issued a tax ruling which states that they can apply the anti-avoidance provisions to cancel any tax benefits and apply penalties.

7. Organise your working from home expenses

There has been a change in the way you claim deductions this year; from July 1, 2022, you can claim a 67 cent/hour fixed rate (the old 80 cent/hour “shortcut” rate and the 52 cent/hour fixed rate have been abolished). Confusingly, the items covered by the new fixed rate have also changed. Included are:

  • Energy expenses (electricity and/or gas) for lighting, heating/cooling and electronic items used while working from home

  • Internet expenses

  • Mobile and/or home telephone expenses, and

  • Stationery and computer consumables.

Importantly, if you claim the fixed rate, you cannot claim separately for any of the expenses above, including mobile phone use. So, even if you use your mobile phone outside the home (visiting clients, on-the-road, even at your office), you cannot claim these costs.

8. Seek expert help

Speak to a tax agent like H&R Block. They can identify exactly what you need to do to get into shape for the 2023 tax season and maximise your deductions.

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