Categories: Business & Finance

Should I do my own tax return?

o quote the famous satirist, Dorothy Parker “We hate doing our taxes, but we love having done our taxes”. Especially if there’s a refund coming. It’s also natural to hate paying for things that you believe you can do yourself and tax is one of those things. When you look at a simple tax return, it seems just that, simple. So why should we pay for someone to do it? Well, the truth is, if you have the option to pay someone to do it, it’s probably worth it for one or more of these reasons:

It will cost you money but it’ll save you time

Unless you are a tax law guru (or tax accountant), in order to get the best return you’ll have to have an understanding of tax laws. What you can or can’t claim for. What you need to declare. Then there’s hunting down and keeping track of it all. If you’re a details person or a numbers person, great. But if you’re not, the money spent on a tax accountant will probably far outweigh the stress of not doing it.

The more you know you can claim, the better your tax return

A tax accountant is someone who spends their time studying and dealing with tax law. Getting them to help you with your tax return can improve it. They’ll be able to make suggestions, perhaps they’re aware of deductions you’re eligible for which you may have missed. Of course, you may be all over it and if that’s the case, probably more than capable of doing it yourself. But if you aren’t, you may feel more comfortable with the help of a professional.

When your situation isn’t black and white

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If you have a simple situation, great. You’re employed and don’t have any side incomes, then doing your own tax return will probably be quite simple. However, there are areas which can make things a little more complicated and move you into the grey area. This could be that your hobby has now turned into a little side business. Perhaps your self-employed or you have two jobs, you could have even operated at a loss last year. The fact is, there are some situations which will make your tax return a little more complicated. These are the situations that you should definitely put money towards getting the right help and advice. 

You have more than just an income

If you have shares or property, or both, you should definitely consider using an accountant. Especially to navigate such things as Capital Gains Tax and Negative Gearing. They can offer you guidance on how best to navigate tax gain from your assets or how to negative gear your tax.

Your personal situation as changed

Perhaps you got married. Or divorced. Or had a child. Maybe you lost a spouse? If anything like this happened to you this year, you may need help finding the best filing status. Also, as your children get older, tax credits and deductions might expire. This is all age dependent and using someone who understands all the options can prove beneficial. 

The bottom line is, it’s completely up to you. It really depends on what you’re comfortable with and how confident you are navigating this stuff on your own. But in the event that you aren’t completely confident, having a trustworthy tax profession working for you can make all the difference.

  • Sherry Kinman

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