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Barefoot Investor Scott Pape explains how to pick the right accountant to boost tax cut refund

How you can boost your tax return by hundreds of dollars just by choosing the right accountant – as the Barefoot Investor reveals the average Aussie gets back $2,574

  • Bestselling author Scott Pape urging people to email prospective accountants
  • The Barefoot Investor said their response could be a telling sign of competence
  • Middle and average-income Australians are receiving tax cuts of up to $1,080 
  • Average tax refund already stood at $2,574 before tax cuts package legislated
  • That means a good accountant could help someone net more than $3,600 

Australians can significantly boost their tax refund by taking their time to pick the right accountant. 

Middle and average-income Australians are set to receive tax cuts of up to $1,080 just for putting in their annual tax return.

Even before the tax cuts were legislated, the average tax refund stood at $2,574, Australian Taxation Office data for 2015-16 showed.

With the tax cut added, average-income Australians are on course to receive $3,654.

Australians can significantly boost their tax refund by taking their time to pick the right accountant (pictured is a stock image of a bean counter)

Their success in claiming work-related tax deductions, however, depends on finding the right accountant.

Bestselling author Scott Pape, who is also known as the Barefoot Investor, has urged taxpayers to email a prospective accountant outlining their needs and asking about their experience and charges.

Pape suggested their response could be telling.

‘They get back to you quickly, preferably under 24 hours,’ he told his Barefoot Investor column readers in News Corp’s Sunday newspapers.

‘They sound polite and professional, and that their expertise lines up with your needs.’ 

The federal government’s Tax Practitioners Board website lists accountants by suburb.

Bestselling author Scott Pape, who is also known as the Barefoot Investor, has urged taxpayers to email a prospective accountant outlining their needs and asking about their experience and charges

Bestselling author Scott Pape, who is also known as the Barefoot Investor, has urged taxpayers to email a prospective accountant outlining their needs and asking about their experience and charges

HOW MUCH ARE YOU GETTING BACK?

Those earning $48,000 to $90,000 will see their tax cuts double from $530 to $1,080. 

Part-time workers earning less than $37,000 a year are getting a smaller tax cut of $255, or just $4.90 a week.

Stage one increases the threshold for the 32.5 per cent personal income tax bracket from $87,000 to $90,000, over four years until 2022

Stage two, from July 1, 2022, will increase the 19 per cent personal income tax bracket from $41,000 to $45,000. It also raises the 32.5 per cent personal income tax bracket from $90,000 to $120,000

Stage three will see the 37 per cent tax bracket abolished from July 1, 2024 and a new 30 per cent tax bracket created for all individuals earning between $45,001 and $200,000. The number of tax brackets will be slashed from five to four for the first time since 1984

Pape also suggested word of mouth.

‘The same way you find a good hairdresser: ask your friends,’ he said.

‘That being said, bad tax advice is worse than a bad haircut, so I’d also suggest you jump on to the Tax Practitioners Board website and search for a few accountants in your area.’

Tax accountants H&R Block are selling the fact they are open on Saturdays, but independent accountants may also be flexible with their opening hours. 

More than 4.5million Australians earning $48,000 to $90,000 a year are receiving the full $1,080 in tax relief, announced in the May budget and passed by Parliament earlier this month.

It is part of an overall $158billion package of tax relief for 10million workers earning up to $126,000.

Those earning less than $37,000 are getting smaller tax cuts of $255, or $4.90 a week.

The tax office advises that tax refunds typically take five days to process.

Employers with more than 20 staff are no longer required to provide group certificates, which means taxpayers need to obtain it via the myGov website or through a tax accountant. 

Online tax returns are already partially filled in by the government to take account of private health insurance details and bank interest. 

This graph shows how the tax cuts are broken down per bracket - with 4.5 million taxpayers getting the full cut of $1,080

This graph shows how the tax cuts are broken down per bracket – with 4.5 million taxpayers getting the full cut of $1,080 

HOW AUSTRALIANS CAN GET THEIR TAX CUT VERY SOON

Tax accountants H&R Block are recommending that Australians find an accountant who is open on Saturdays if they want to have their tax returns processed as soon as possible.

The group’s director of tax communications Mark Chapman said finding an accountant that opened after hours and weekends made a huge difference.

‘Much better than having to take time off work to get it done at an accountant that only opens nine to five, Monday to Friday,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘As a general rule, you need receipts and invoices to prove you spent the money, so gather together all your paperwork before you visit your accountant.’  

This year, tax returns are also pre-filled in with employers, banks and private health funds providing details direct to the Australian Taxation Office. 

Many income earners are no longer receiving group certificates in the mail or by email from their employer, with employers with 20 or more staff no longer required to provide a payment summary.

This means taxpayers filing a return will either have to obtain it via their accountant or by visiting the myGov website. 

Mr Chapman said those working for small businesses may have to wait a little longer to be in a position to file their tax returns.

‘It can take until late July or early August for some slow-moving organisations to fully report data to the ATO but as we head to mid-July, most organisations have reported,’ he said. 

From July 2020, smaller employers with less than 20 staff will no longer need to provide payment summaries to their staff. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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