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A guide to 2019 tax

Here are the key things you need to know for personal taxes in 2019.

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It's the end of financial year (EOFY) so it’s time to think about preparing and lodging your personal tax return.

Our guide covers what’s new for 2019, what the ATO is currently targeting, lodgment matters and due dates, and a few other key things to consider.

What’s new for 2019 in personal taxes

Australian resident individuals whose income does not exceed $126,000 are entitled to a new low and middle income tax offset (LMITO), which applies for the 2019 to 2022 financial years. This will be received by eligible taxpayers upon lodgment of their income tax returns.

The way tax is being administered is also changing – with much more happening online. Two of the key changes this year involve Single Touch Payroll (STP) and private health insurance statements.

Many employers started using STP in the last financial year and it will be gradually rolled out to all employers. With STP, employers report wages and taxes to the ATO each time they pay workers. As an employee, this goes into your online record and shows up in your myGov account.

An employer using STP is not obliged to give you a payment summary (or group certificate) at the end of the financial year. STP also means that when you do your tax return through myGov, your wages and taxes figures will auto-populate, so you don't need to fill them in.

Your private health insurance details should also be pre-filled in myGov. Private health insurers are no longer required to provide end of year statements. If you have online access to your account, you can download a statement from there, or you can request one from your provider if needed.

Key points to keep in mind at tax time

As well as making sure you claim for any work-related purchases you made before EOFY, you may also need to consider a few other key things:

Interest earned: You need to declare any interest you earn on, savings accounts or term deposits as income.

Tax file number (TFN): It’s important to provide your TFN to your financial institution. If you fail to do so, you may have tax withheld from your interest at the highest marginal rate, and need to wait until you lodge your tax return to claim a credit for the tax withheld.

Exempt income: The ATO has produced a guide on tax-exempt income for this year. Exempt income includes carer payments, defence force income support allowances, disability support pensions, some scholarships and rent assistance.

Lodging your tax return

The quickest way to lodge yourself is through myGov. If you lodge your own return, you must do so by October 31, 2019. Failure to do so could result in fines or penalties.

If you use a registered tax agent, you will usually have more time to lodge (up to May 2020), but you must contact your agent prior to October 31.

Preparing for the next tax year

As well as gathering your records and lodging your return, it’s good to start preparing for next year during the coming months.

This includes keeping a file of all work-related expenses and deductible donations during the year, and ensuring you complete all deductible purchases by June 30.

It’s also a good idea to keep abreast of any changes the ATO brings in, so you can ensure your returns are accurate and correct!

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Newcastle Permanent Building Society does not provide tax or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax or accounting advisors to consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. .

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