Preparing for the end of the financial year can seem daunting but it’s also a great time to review your financial situation and plan for the future.
With June 30 just about here, you may be bracing yourself to get your paperwork done for your tax return. Getting your tax affairs in order is important however there is more to end of financial year planning than just tax.
It’s also a great time to review your financial situation and set goals for the future. Let’s look at some simple steps you can take now to get organised for tax time and maximise your financial well-being into the future.
Find an accountant or tax agent
The first step to a successful tax return is usually finding an accountant or registered tax agent. They can help you claim all the tax deductions you are entitled to and make sure your tax return is correct. Then it’s a matter of getting your receipts and income records ready to provide to your accountant.
Watch for tax related scams
At this time of year, there may be increased activity by scammers pretending to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and trying to steal personal information including phone numbers, email addresses and bank account information. If you suspect a phone call, SMS, voicemail, email, or interaction on social media claiming to be from the ATO is not genuine, don’t engage. Instead phone the ATO on 1800 008 540.
If you have lost money to a scam, please notify your financial institution as soon as possible. Australian Mutual Bank members can speak to our Fraud Team by calling 13 61 91 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have given personal information to a scammer, contact IDCARE.
Assess where you can save
Now is a good time to review where you’ve been spending your money and consider how you might be able to make some savings. Compare prices for phone, energy and insurance providers to see if it’s worth switching. Consider if there are any subscriptions you are paying for that you no longer use. Are there any small recurring costs you could minimise? Something as simple as packing lunch once a week can save a significant amount over a year.
Think about how to use your tax return wisely
Think about how you’ll use your tax return according to your current financial priorities. You may decide you want to invest the money in order to grow your wealth over time. If you have debt, it may be a priority to pay that down. Or you may have something special that you are saving for, such as an overseas holiday.
Get your super in order
Superannuation is something many people don’t think much about until they are getting close to retirement. However, for most people, it’s one of their most important financial assets. So it’s worth checking in regularly to make sure it’s on track. Find out whether you have any lost super by using mygov or call the ATO’s lost super search line on 13 28 65. Other steps to consider to maximise your super are: consolidating your super into one account to save on fees; comparing fees across funds to determine if you’re paying too much, and making personal contributions to supplement those being made by your employer. If you’re looking to switch super funds, you can read about the process here.
Plan for the future
The end of the financial year is a great time to take stock and plan for the year ahead. Make a budget or review your existing budget if you have one. Make or review your savings plan to see if you’re on track to reach your goals. Do you expect anything significant to change in the next 12 months? How would you account for those changes financially?
If you follow these simple steps, the end of the year can be more than a time to complete tedious paperwork, but a strategic window in which you can take stock of your financial situation and make plans to improve your financial wellbeing.
Source: Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA)