DIY tax return tips

Doing your own tax? Make the most out of your 2018-19 tax return.

Tax time is just around the corner and, according to the ASIC’s Moneysmart, one-third of Australians complete their tax return themselves.

Most people are looking to maximise their tax return, with 51% of people using the money they receive to pay bills, pay off their credit card or make loan and mortgage repayments.  

Follow these tips to make the most of your DIY tax return.

Gather the right information

Before you start your tax return, you’ll need to have all the right information. Some of the documents you’ll need to complete your tax return include:

  • Payment summaries from your employer and other sources of income such as Centrelink and superannuation. This includes sharing economy gigs such as Uber Deliveroo and Airbnb.
  • Bank statements detailing any interest you’ve earned.
  • Private health insurance statement.
  • Information on shares you’ve bought or sold and any dividends you’ve received.
  • Details of income and expenses from any investment properties.
  • Details of foreign income or foreign pensions.
  • Receipts for work-related expenses such as travel, uniforms, home office, education and tools. 


Most people have a good idea of what can and can’t be claimed as a tax deduction. If you’re unsure, the ATO has created as series of fact sheets on deductions for different occupations and industries.

If you’ve made donations to registered charities throughout the year you can also claim these as deductions. You can’t claim donations that provide you a benefit such as raffle or art union tickets, fundraising chocolates or membership fees.

It’s important to remember that you’re responsible for the claims you make so ensure your deductions are legitimate and you have receipts or records to substantiate your claims.

It pays to wait

You have until 31 October to lodge your tax return and if you wait until mid-August the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will pre-fill your tax return with information from your employer, banks and government agencies. You’ll just have to check the information is complete and correct, add your deductions and submit your return.

What if it’s too hard?

If your tax return is complex or you’re finding it difficult, consider using a registered tax accountant. You can check if a tax agent is registered using the Tax and BAS Agent register.

Make next year easier

Don’t wait until the end of June to start organising your important tax documents and receipts.

The ATO app’s myDeductions tool can help keep all your records in the one place. At the end of the financial year you can upload your records directly to myTax to complete your tax return online. If you choose to use an accountant, you can share your records directly with them via email.


The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person’s particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs.