Frequently Asked Question About Taxation in Australia

I will be going overseas for 6 months and intend to work while I am away. Will I have to pay tax in Australia on the money that I earn overseas?
If your overseas income is not exempt, you will need to declare the income on your Australian tax return and may be entitled to a foreign income tax offset for any foreign tax that you paid on that income.

Do I have to declare income from Centrelink (Newstart, Austudy) on my tax return?

All income must be declared. This is because the tax office needs to determine what tax rate applies to your other earnings for the year. You may be entitled to an offset to ensure that no tax is payable on your benefit. You can access the information required from Centrelink online services.

Does a minor receiving trust benefit need to lodge returns?

From 1 July 2011, the Government removed the ability of minors to access the low-income rebate for unearned income (such as interest, dividends, rent, royalties, trust distributions etc.). This means that a minor who earns over $416 in unearned income must lodge an income tax return.

I have inherited some money. Is it taxable?

The inheritance is not taxable unless you are advised by the executor that a part is taxable. However, if you invest the income from the estate then any earnings will be taxable.

I have just moved permanently to Australia. Do I have to pay tax on the money that I have brought with me?

You will only have to pay tax on any earnings that you make from the time that you moved to Australia. If the money that you brought with you earns interest in a bank account you will have to pay tax on the interest.

I have shares and I’ve received franked dividends this year but have no other income. Do I have to lodge a tax return to get the franking credits refunded to me?

You do not have to lodge a full tax return. You can complete the Refund of Franking Credits for Individuals form which can be lodged by telephone or mailed to the ATO

I have to buy tools and equipment for my job. What can I claim on my tax?

You are able to claim expenditure incurred in replacing, insuring and repairing tools of the trade that you use for earning your income. If the cost of any item is more than $300 then it will have to be depreciated. The amount you can claim will depend on what records you have kept and to what extent you use it for income producing purposes.

I recently bought an iPad and have been using it for work. Will I be able to claim a tax deduction for the cost?

The ATO has confirmed that the iPad will be treated as the equivalent of a laptop. If it is used to produce assessable income (i.e. for work-related activities) a claim could be made. Any claim will have to be adjusted where there is private use and if the iPad cost more than $300 the work-related proportion would have to be depreciated over its effective life. You should keep a log of work-related use for a period of at least four weeks to determine the proportion that you can claim.

I have had to pay for childcare during the year. Is this claimable on my tax return?

Child care expenses are not claimable as a tax deduction. Eligible taxpayers may be able to claim through the Family Assistance Office.

Can I claim fees paid to my tax agent?

Fees paid to a registered tax agent for the preparation of your return, amendments and generally handling your tax matters are all deductible. You can also claim travel to your registered tax agent (you are limited per income tax return to 5,000km in total across the entire return if claiming the c/km method). Registered tax agents are the only people legally able to receive payment for the preparation of tax returns.

How long do I need to keep my receipts?

Documentary evidence should be kept for five years from the date of lodgement of the tax return in which the claims are made. If you are depreciating an asset the receipt should be kept until the item is fully depreciated (even if over 5 years).

Is a credit card slip acceptable as a receipt?

Provided it gives full details of the supplier and date of purchase the tax office would accept a credit card slip as proof of purchase. Taxpayers can make a notation on the document indicating the type of goods that were purchased

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