Thanks to streamlined processes for tax, super and private health insurance, as well as the turbulence of what was and continues to be COVID-19, things are going to look a little different at tax time this year.
These are the main changes you need to be aware of in the lead up to June 30.
Payment Summaries or Group Certificates. No matter what you called them, they're now terms of the past. Your end-of-year payment summary is now called an Income Statement.
Most employers have switched to Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting and are no longer required to provide you with your Income Statement at the EOFY. Instead, your Income Statement information will be available in ATO online services through myGov.
If you don't already have a myGov account and don't want to create one, you can phone the ATO on 13 28 61 to get a copy of your income statement (when it becomes available at EOFY).
You no longer need to bring a copy of your Income Statement to your tax return appointment (as long as that appointment is with a registered tax agent!). As a registered tax agent, Verve Group will have access to your Income Statement so we can complete your tax return.
While it's likely your employer has started to report through STP, not all employers are doing so yet. In this case, you will continue to get a payment summary from any employer who has not yet started STP reporting.
For more info on Income Statements and accessing your information online, check out this article from the ATO.
Private Health Insurance Statement
The law has recently changed in regards to the way health insurers give you information about your private health insurance premiums. Previously, your health insurer was required to send a private health insurance statement to each adult covered by the policy by 15 July each year. It is now optional for them to send you this information.
If you lodge your tax return using a registered tax agent, your health insurance details should be pre-filled. In the unlikely event that your health insurance details are not pre-filled, you will need to contact your health insurer in order to get a private health insurance statement so that you can complete your income tax return.
The Shortcut Method: Working From Home Deductions
Due to the circumstances of COVID-19, the ATO has simplified the process for claiming deductions for expenses related to working from home during the period of 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020.
The arrangement allows people to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses.
Multiple people living in the same house can claim this new rate. For example, a couple living together could each individually claim the 80 cents per hour rate. The requirement to have a dedicated work from home area has also been removed.
If you choose to use this shortcut method, all you need to do is keep a record of the hours you worked from home as evidence of your claim.
Read more about the shortcut method here.
Please note that you don’t have to use the shortcut method. You can choose to use one of the existing methods (fixed rate method or actual cost method) to calculate your deduction. The tax accountants at Verve Group will help you to use the method that will give you the best outcome, as long as you meet the criteria and record keeping requirements for each method.
Tax time is just around the corner. Get in early and secure your appointment for July now.
Verve Group has offices in Glenelg and Alice Springs, but we can also carry out your tax return appointment via Zoom or phone call.
If you have any questions regarding the changes to tax time this year, give our team a call on 08 8120 4877 and we'll be happy to clarify them for you.
See you at tax time!