Secrets to getting free tax help and money back fast
July is that time of year when many of us get a nice little windfall into our hip pockets.
And this year more than ever people will be desperately hoping to receive a bundle of cash back from the taxman.
Accountants will groan at me saying this but if your tax affairs are simple then there's no reason why you can't manage your own tax return.
The Australian Taxation Office's myTax website is really easy to use and they have a huge amount of resources - that you're inadvertently paying for - so make sure you use them.
A few years ago I ditched my accountant because I figured I really didn't need someone to handle what I could easily do myself.
And one thing I do every July which is an absolute godsend is whip out my trusty manilla folder or shoebox jam packed with receipts and relevant information.
At the end of each financial year I make sure I start a fresh one and mark it up, dated for the next financial year.
As the months roll on I throw in any receipts or information that I know I'll need come the following July.
Trust me, this is the smartest thing you can do.
It makes tax time so much more pain free by having everything in the one place.
Some are even more tech-savvy than me though and save all their receipts on the ATO's app, using the MyDeductions tool.
It doesn't matter which method you use, it's just all about making your life easier.
However of course doing your own tax isn't something a lot of people are comfortable doing.
Some people have extremely complex tax affairs and accountants can be definitely worth their weight in gold.
They should know exactly what you can and cannot claim and they are definitely worth using if you think you can't do it yourself.
Already 2.05 million Australians have rushed to file their returns and they have received $1.72 billion back - the average amount back is $2371.
But if you haven't yet sat down to do your tax there's no real rush because the ATO gurus tell me it's best to wait until the end of July to ensure you have all your necessary information to make a claim.
For those who are self lodging their 2019/20 tax return - this must be done by October 31 - use the ATO's resources.
They have a virtual assistant dubbed Alex who operates around the clock and there's also a live chat service.
I've already used this as I start to prepare my return and it's been so useful.
And in the past I've also phoned up the ATO's helpline to ask for some more detailed help on where to input information to ensure I don't stuff it up.
Set aside a few hours to do your tax return - depending of course how complicated your financial affairs are - and make sure you call on these free resources.
That's what they are there for.
And for those who are using a registered tax agent the good news is the cost is 100 per cent tax deductible.