It is great to welcome new tax clients to our practice each year.
Many of these new people have been recommended by existing clients or have Googled us and been impressed by the number of positive reviews and ratings. During appointments with these new clients, many comment that we do ask a lot of questions (compared with their previous tax accountant).
Given these comments, we thought it was worthwhile tracking through some of the main reasons we run through a comprehensive list of questions with clients each year as part of their annual tax return interview with us.
We Want To Get To Know You
Unashamedly, it is our goal to turn every new client into a long term raving fan of our firm.
We believe this is achieved by being excellent tax accountants AND by getting to know about you, your family, your job, plus your hobbies and interests.
This not only makes your annual interview a more personal experience, but it also helps us hone in on areas where we can provide you with the best possible advice.
Accounting for All Income
Even as an individual employee, there are 17 different types of income that may need to be included in your annual tax return.
Some, like your annual PAYG summary, are obvious, but others like your bank interest, dividends, taxable Centrelink payments or capital gains from selling shares (or cryptocurrency) are easily for gotten.
It’s also important that we account for a full 12 months of your income – often people forget a brief part-time job they had for just a few weeks that needs to be included. If you’re operating a rideshare, there are rules around that too.
Not Missing Any Deductions
There are well over 20 potential line items for deductions on a personal tax return. Many more if you have a rental property. It is important to work through this list and make sure we have not missed anything that could get you some extra dollars back in your return.
But identifying potential deductions is just part of our job. We also need to ensure that you have kept the right records that allow you to make the claim. It is our duty of care to ensure you get the best possible tax result, but that the return would pass an audit from the ATO.
On many occasions we identify that clients might have a potential claim but not the records to prove that claim. So, we make sure you leave armed with what you need to do to make that claim in your next tax return.
Other Rebates & Offsets
Things like where you work, your age, your family situation, your level of income and whether you have private hospital insurance or a HECS debt can affect the outcome of your tax return by imposing extra levies, or reducing tax through offsets.
We need to be on the lookout for indications that these situations apply, explain how they could affect you – and whether anything could done in future years to better manage any of these outcomes.
The Tax Rules Change
Even for clients with whom we have a long history, rules relating to allowable deductions and related record keeping can change from year to year.
Also people’s incomes, investments, work arrangements and family situations can be different from when we last met.
It is important that we don’t just cut and paste last year’s deductions onto this year’s return. The ATO and the government do tweak and change the rules constantly and it is our job each to make sure your tax return is prepared under current rules and guidelines.
So, whether we pose them face to face or via the internet, there are good reasons why Deb (and all our tax consultants) will ask you lots of questions each year about your tax return.