New Year, New Changes

​ We are well into Tax Time 2015 here at Start Fresh Accounting, I can’t believe it is September already?!  This Tax Time has been an interesting one with many small changes to the way we prepare and lodge Individuals tax returns. Every year the Australian Taxation Office makes changes to the Individual Tax Return form. This is generally the result of budget announcements, and this year is no different.  The major changes this year is the removal of removal offsets and benefits that individuals have been able to use in the past.  The Mature Age Workers offset – removed. Last year was the last time someone over 55 years old could receive this offset.  The Medical expenses offset – phasing out. 2015 is the last year you can claim this, however your must meet the criteria to claim.  In most cases, you will only be eligible to claim the offset this year if you received it in your 2013-14 income tax assessment. This does not apply to you if you had medical expenses relating to disability aids, attendant care and aged care. You can continue to claim the offset for these expenses until June 30, 2019. Temporary Budget Repair Levy – continues until 2017. As part of the 2014-15 federal budget, the government introduced a temporary budget repair levy. Individual taxpayers with a taxable annual income of more than $180,000 will have had additional tax withheld by their employer, starting from July 1, 2014.The levy is payable at a rate of 2% of each dollar of a taxpayer’s taxable income over $180,000. It applies to both residents and non-residents from July 1, 2014, and applies to the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 income years. The Dependent spouse offset – removed. This was a favourite of mine, as it meant taxpayers could claim for supporting their spouse, especially when they weren’t eligible for Centrelink. This was removed from 1 July 2014.  All this is why it is so important to see a Tax Agent to prepare your tax return. With things changing every year, what you can and cannot do in your return gets complex. A Tax Agent will be able to explain everything you are entitled to, and help you find benefits or deductions you may not have considered.   This applies to Individuals as well as Small Businesses. I often find small business owners to be the ones that claim the least because they don’t know what to they claim. Get informed. Sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date. Make an appointment for a consult. At Start Fresh Accounting are here to help.