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What information do you need to lodge to the ato and what documentation do I need to keep?

Posted on 22 August 2020
What information do you need to lodge to the ato and what documentation do I need to keep?

The short answer is talk to your Accountant and Tax Agent to get it right for your particular situation and absolutely everything that has anything to do with your business and tax.  One of the most common concerns for both Individuals and Business alike is failing to lodge the correct information to the ATO or not being fully aware of the documents that they must retain to make sure that their claims are valid in case of Audit.

We have seen this concern develop further over the last few years with an increase in audit activity from the ATO and the dramatic surge in storms and natural events that have occurred demonstrating their power to wipe out the efforts of even the most diligent of us in our record keeping efforts.

Add to the above the continuous evolution of tax law and the requirements for record keeping on small business and individuals and all of those reports declaring that we are more stressed and working longer hours now than ever before are suddenly making a lot of sense.

Given the constant evolution of the tax laws for both Individuals and Small Business the best advice can only be to develop a strong relationship with your Accountant and Tax Agent, let them do the time-consuming training and updating for you, and don't be afraid to ask questions to make sure that you feel you fully understand how and change in the rules affect your situation.

A good Accountant will listen to you, apply their business experience, tax knowledge and insight and help you understand your obligations while looking for options that allow you the best advantages to move forward and reach your individual and business goals.

One of the most beneficial advantages to having a strong relationship with your Accountant and Tax advisor will be a significant increase in their effectiveness to apply their knowledge, insight and experience to your business.  This can be something as straight forward as alerting you to a change in legislation that could affect your business model currently or in the future to something more complex such as recommending a piece of business or accounting software that could save you significant time and effort in keeping and maintaining your business records.

With the significant differences in business structures and individual circumstances as well as the importance of keeping the "right records" and in the correct form it is strongly recommended that you talk to your accountant about what records you need meet your specific needs and requirements.

Thanks largely to advances in technology it is now possible to gain a greater level of security and certainty in your record keeping efforts with some accounting and record keeping programs available on line or having data stored and / or backed up to an account in the cloud.  A fancy way of saying that your data is secured at multiple locations and your chances are much increased in recovering it should one version be damaged or destroyed.

We highly recommend for all individuals and businesses that all receipt information be scanned in or photographed and backed up to a secondary location.

With the increased capacity of mobile phone cameras and the advancement of the mobile phones themselves it is entirely possible to photograph all of your receipts and save them to a "photo album" in your phone.  This data is in turn backed up to your mobile phone account and can even be shared across multiple devices ensuring that not only is all of your data easily accessible and legible at the end of the tax year but it can be obtained at the touch of a button a massive time saver and stress reliever.

If not saved to you phone scanned to your computer or saved to an external hard drive and backed up to your cloud account is also an excellent, and given the record keeping requirements of the ATO, critical option.

Even if the hard copy data is lost having the digital back up will allow you to still make the claim and provide critical evidence with ease of access thrown in as a significant benefit.

As part of your "New Year" tax strategy make this one of your important goals.  Have that conversation with your Accountant to make sure you understand your obligations and start becoming digital savvy to save yourself some time and a lot of stress!!!

Tags: ATO Tax Return
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