Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are your business hours?

    The normal office hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 5:30 pm. Appointments are necessary. Because we recognise that not everyone can find time during the workday to attend to their financial affairs, we also offer evening and Saturday afternoon appointments.

  • How much do you charge to prepare a tax return?

    The fee for tax return preparation depends on the nature and complexity of the income and deductions involved. The fee for most basic individual returns (that is, a wage earner with interest income and some work-related tax deductions) will be approximately $147 (including GST).

    Where you have a rental property or investment earnings (dividends/trust distributions) then the fee will increase to between $147 - $270 (including GST). Once the return takes longer than an hour to prepare (because of capital gains tax transactions, multiple rental properties etc) we will charge a fee based on the time it takes to efficiently prepare the return. The tidier and more summarised the information is that you provide to us the quicker your return will be to prepare.

    Please refer to the Individual Tax Return Checklist and use it as a guide to the information that you need to provide.

  • How much do your other services cost?

    We charge our skills out at $147 per hour. All work, except for basic individual tax return preparation (see question 2), will be charged to you based on the time it takes to efficiently complete the task.

  • Are the fees that I pay for the preparation of my tax return deductible?

    All fees paid to a registered tax agent, whether for the preparation of your tax return, tax advice or other tax-related matter will be deductible in the year in which the fees are paid. The cost of travelling to meet with your tax advisor to attend to your tax affairs will also be tax deductible.

  • Does my tax return have to be completed by 31 October?

    You will only need to lodge your tax return by 31 October if you are preparing it yourself. If you appoint us as your tax agent before 31 October then you will benefit from the lodgment extensions that the tax office provides to registered tax agents.

  • Will there be penalties if my return is lodged late?

    If a return is lodged late the tax office has the discretion to assess a penalty amount, a general interest charge or both.

  • What information will I need to bring with me to have my tax return prepared?

    Tax returns have increased in complexity and length. We have provided an Individual Tax Return Checklist for you to use to ensure that you bring most of the basic items of information required to complete your return. If this is your first visit to us, please bring a copy of your prior year's tax return to assist us in ensuring that continuing deductions like depreciation are not forgotten.

  • Do I have to bring my receipts with me to the interview?

    We recommend that you do bring all your work and business related receipts with you at the time of your appointment for review or clarification if a deduction is in doubt. However, we also recommend that, in the interest of keeping the time spent preparing your return down and our fees low, you also have a summary list which totals your individual expenses. This can be handwritten, or a computer spreadsheet etc.

  • How long do receipts need to be kept?

    Written evidence used in the preparation of your tax return must be kept for a period of five years from the date of lodgment of your tax return.

  • Can I just claim a standard $300 for work-related expenses each year even if I don't have any receipts, or know exactly how much money I spent (if any)?

    No. Even though the tax office does not require you to have receipts to support claims totalling less than $300, you must still have incurred the expense in relation to earning your income. If asked by the tax office you must be able to show how you worked out your claim and why it is reasonable given the nature of your occupation.

  • How do I claim for small expenses for which receipts are not issued? (eg parking, tolls etc)

    For expenses of less than $10 each (up to a total of $200 for the year), you can keep your own record of each cost as written evidence of the expense. Your record of each expense should include all the information that would have appeared on a receipt had you received one. That is date of purchase, amount of purchase, name of the supplier, description of item purchased.

  • Is a credit card slip a receipt?

    Yes, if it provides full details of the name of the supplier, date of purchase, amount of purchase and full description of the item purchased. Where the customer copy of a manually processed credit card payment, or the receipt issued from a point of sale machine does not include a full description of the item purchased, then it will become a valid receipt if the supplier (not you) writes sufficient details on the receipt to describe the nature of the goods or services supplied.

  • What is a home office? Do I have one?

    A home office should be a separate room in your home that is used to do substantial work that is not convenient to carry out at your normal place of work. You cannot make a home office claim if you are working in the lounge room where other family members are watching television.

    However, this rule changes if you elect to claim home office expenses using the ATO 80c per hour shortcut method. To use this method there is no requirement to have a separate or dedicated area in your home set aside for working (eg a private study).

    Please note, the ATO warns that this shortcut method will not be available for use in the 2023 financial year.

  • I take work home with me from the office and do this work in a separate study set up in my home. How do I make a claim for the time I work from home?

    Tax deductions may be claimed for home office running expenses such as heating/cooling, lighting and depreciation on professional libraries, furniture and equipment. A diary kept for a four-week representative period showing your pattern of use of the home office must be kept each year. Once this diary has established your business use, you can claim a tax deduction based on 52c per hour to cover heating/cooling, lighting and depreciation on furniture. A separate deduction can also be made for depreciation on equipment such as computer, printer or copier.

    If you elect to use the ATO 80c per hour shortcut method to claim home office expenses for 2022, you must remember that it is an all-inclusive rate.
    Unlike the 52c per hour fixed rate method, any additional running costs like internet, mobile and home phone, stationery, computer depreciation etc, cannot be claimed.

  • Can I make a claim for phone calls made for work purposes from my home phone?

    Yes. Generally, work-related calls can be identified by an itemised telephone account. If such an account is not available, then you can base your claim on a reasonable estimate of call costs, based on diary entries of calls made over a representative four week period. This diary record will establish a pattern of use that can be used for the entire year.

    Please note that if you elect to claim home office use under the new 80c per hour method during the COVID-19 period (1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021) a separate deduction for phone usage during this 4 month period cannot be claimed.

  • I have been using a log book that I kept several years ago to support the business use of my car when making my car claim. How long can I continue to rely on this log book?

    A log book is only valid for five years. A new log book must be kept for each five year period if you want to continue making car claims using this method. Be aware that a new log book must be kept if you change employer, change your role with your current employer, or the pattern of your work-related travel.