First job tax tips

Your first tax return can be daunting – here are our top tips to make life easier.

Where does my tax go?

Your tax dollars go towards servicing and improving Australia’s public services like policing, transport, healthcare, schools and universities.

Do I have to pay tax?

If you earned more than $18,200 this financial year, you may have to pay tax. The amount of tax will depend on your tax bracket and how much you’ve already paid.  If you’ve earned less than this and have been paying tax, you could receive a nice refund.

What do I need for my tax return?

 Before starting your first return, you’ll need to get your paperwork together which may include:

• Payment summary - your employer must provide this (aka Group Certificate)
• Tax File Number (can be located on your payment summary or from the Australian Tax Office)
• Bank statements (if you’ve been paid interest – access an annual interest summary from your online banking)
• Any receipts for deductions

How do I lodge my tax return?

The easiest way to lodge your return is online. myGov is easy to use, and if you wait until mid-August, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will even prefill some of your return.

What if it’s too hard?

Don’t worry - the ATO has a free and confidential Tax Help program, run by ATO trained volunteers. They can help you submit your return online between July and October.

If it’s still too hard, a tax agent can prepare and submit your return for a fee – which is generally deductible in the following year.

What should I do with my tax refund?

Develop a plan before the refund arrives in your bank account. Try splitting it up like this:

• Splurge 50%.
• Build your emergency fund savings 20% (for when life happens).
• Short term savings 20% (e.g. holiday).
• Longer term savings 10% (a little now goes a long way in the future).