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2020 Tax-Time Checklist



Your 2020 Tax Return will be unlike any other year. With all the changes around COVID-19 with income, allowances, government incentives and the deductions that have been impacted by it, this year more than ever is not the time to just Do-It-Yourself!


Rest assured your 2020 tax return deductions will be under more scrutiny than any year ever before. Even more than last year - if that was even possible.


But, as always we have your back. The following is the COMPLETE tax return checklist. We know it is long - but we have done all the hard work for you. It includes the income that you need to declare and the deductions you can claim.


Lets get started....

To ensure you are prepared for your appointment make sure that you have the following information available upon booking:


  1. A copy of last year’s tax return

  2. Bank account details where you would like the refund to be paid to

  3. Photo Identification - new clients only

  4. Income – see breakdown below

  5. Deductions – see breakdown below

  6. Spouse details (married or defacto) – Full name, Date of birth and Taxable income for the year

  7. Number of dependant children

  8. Amount of child support you have paid in the year

Lets break down Income and Deductions....

Income Includes


  • Salary or Wages


Did you know that your employer does not need to supply you with a Payment Summary if they are reporting directly to the ATO?


PAYMENT SUMMARY CHANGES: Please see important information on the changes to Payment Summaries for all employers from 1 July 2019 here


If your employer has provided you a copy please let us know and have this available upon request, and if applicable any paid parental leave payments


If you have received JobKeeper payments this will be reported on your Payment Summary


  • Allowances, earnings, tips, director’s fees etc.


This is usually located on your payment summary. Please be aware that receipt of an allowance does not automatically entitle an employee to a deduction for expenditure to which the allowance relates (e.g. tool allowance).


  • Employer Lump Sum Payments


These payments are in respect of unused annual and long service leave paid out on termination of employment. Label A and B of the client’s PAYG payment summary should contain the relevant information. Also, obtain and attach a copy of a statement of termination from the client’s employer.


  • Employment Termination Payments (ETPs)


Please provide a copy of any ETP payment summaries and employer termination statements.


  • Australian Government allowances and payments like Newstart / JobSeeker, youth allowance and Austudy payment


Provide details of all youth allowances, Newstart / JobSeeker, sickness allowance or special benefit, or other educational or training allowances. (Please Note: paper copies are no longer sent by Centrelink and will need to be obtained via my.gov)


  • Australian Government pensions and other allowances


(Please Note: paper copies are no longer sent by Centrelink and will need to be obtained via my.gov)


  • Australian annuities and superannuation income streams


Provide details of taxable and rebatable components of pension.


  • Australian superannuation lump sum payments


Superannuation lump sums paid from a taxed source to a person aged 60 or over are tax free. Lump sums paid to persons under 60 are still taxable. Please provide details of these.


  • Gross interest


Interest that has been received or credited in the 2019 Financial Year, from your Bank or Financial Provider


  • Dividends


Unfranked, partly franked and fully franked dividends are assessable for taxation purposes. Please provide copies of your dividend statements.


  • Employee share schemes (ESS)


Please provide details of any Employee Share Schemes.


Please note the discount given on the ‘ESS interest’ (being a share or a right to acquire a share) under the ESS is assessable for taxation purposes unless the deferral concession applies. This assessable discount may be reduced by $1,000 where certain conditions apply.


  • Partnerships and Trusts


Please provide details of the partnership, trust or a managed investment trust fund payment and type of income received are required. In the case of a Partnership and Trading Trust please provide a copy of the tax return. In the case of Managed Trusts, please provide the tax summary from your Shares portfolio provider or Broker


  • Capital Gains


In the case of any possible Capital Gains you will need to provide:

  1. a description of the asset

  2. the purchase date

  3. the purchase cost

  4. date and amount of any expenditure incurred by the taxpayer that forms part of the asset’s cost base including eligible incidental costs

  5. the sale date (or exchange of contract date if earlier)

  6. the sale proceeds amount.


  • Foreign source income and foreign assets or property


Provide details of country, amount received, exchange rate utilised, foreign tax withheld.


  • Rental Income


Provide details of:

  1. rental income earned

  2. interest charged on money borrowed for the rental property

  3. details of other expenses relating to the rental property

  4. details of any capital works expenditure to the rental property.


Other income

Please provide details of any of the following that has been received during the year including:

  1. a non-qualifying component of an ETP

  2. lump sum payments in arrears

  3. foreign exchange gains

  4. royalties

  5. certain scholarships, bursaries, grants

  6. any assessable balancing adjustments on depreciating assets

  7. jury duty service fees

Deductions Include:

REMEMBER THE THREE GOLDEN RULES




You must have paid for the expense and not been reimbursed, there must be a direct connection to earning your income and lastly you must have a record to prove it

  • Work Related Car Expenses


Since the 2016 Financial year there are only 2 methods available to use

1. Cents per kilometre method:

This claim is based on a set rate for each business kilometre travelled which is 68c (increased from 66c in the 2018 year) The taxpayer is able to claim costs by applying the set rate up to a maximum of 5,000 kilometres, "without a logbook"

**Please note you will still need to justify that these kilometres have actually been travelled - that means that the ATO will require you to substantiate your kilometre claim, they can and will call your employer to find out if you are required to use your motor vehicle. You will also need to show your workings on how many kilometres have been calculated.

**To make sure you get it right we recommend you always keep a logbook! At the very least, get a signed letter from your employer stating that you must use your own car

2. Logbook method:

This claim is based on the business use percentage of car expenses. Ensure log is kept for 12 consecutive weeks and business use percentage did not vary more than 10%. The resulting business use percentage may then be applied to all car expenses to calculate a deductible amount. The log book must be renewed every 5 years.

**Please note you must have a starting and ending odometer for every year claimed for the log book to be valid

IMPORTANT: if you have been working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions the ATO will be looking closely at your Motor Vehicle Deductions in that period


  • Work Related Travel Expenses


Domestic travel

Generally requires you to sleep away from home. Expenses include meals, accommodation, car hire and incidentals (such as tolls, parking and hire of third party vehicles).

Overseas travel

Must provide documentary evidence as well as diary evidence.

**Receipts must be kept for all deductions claimed even if they do not exceed the daily allowance as set by ATO

  • Work related uniform, occupation specific or protective clothing, laundry and dry cleaning expenses 1. Protective clothing and safety footwear: clothing or footwear that is specifically designed to protect or compulsory uniforms: unique and distinctive to the employer. 2. Non-conventional clothing that the employee is required to wear and is registered with AusIndustry or 3. Occupation specific: clothing that identifies a person as a member of a specific profession, trade, vocation, occupation or calling **Please be aware that ordinary clothing is not deductible, even if your employer requires you wear a specific colour or style. Launder of Uniform is only allowable for eligible

Records Needed: You must have written evidence, such as diary entries and receipts for your laundry expenses if both of the following apply:


The amount of your claim is greater than $150.00

Your total claim of Work Related Expenses exceed $300.00

If you don't need to provide written evidence for your laundry expenses, you may use a reasonable basis for working our your laundry (that is washing, drying and ironing):

$1 per load - if the load is made up of only work related clothing, or

50c per load if other items of clothing are included

**Please note: You cannot claim a deduction for the launder of uniform if it is does not satifisfy the 3 above requirements.

IMPORTANT: if you have been working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions you cannot claim Launder of Uniform in that time period


  • Work Related Self-Education expenses

Self-education expenses are deductible when the course you undertake has a sufficient connection to your current employment, and maintains the specific skills or knowledge you require in your current employment or results in (or is likely to result in) an increase in your income from your current employment.

You cannot claim a deduction for self-education for a course that relates only in a general way to your current employment or profession, or will enable you to get new employment - such as moving from a nurse to a doctor.

If your self-education is eligible you may be able to claim a deduction for your expenses. Examples include student union fees, books, stationery, consumables, travel and depreciation.

**Please note: You cannot claim for tuition fees if you have been reimbursed for them or paid by someone else, including your employer. You also cannot claim for fees that have been paid under a government loan eg: HELP, SFSS, SSL and TSL programs

  • Work from Home - COVID-19


Due to COVID-19 your working arrangements may have changed. If you have been working from home, you may have expenses you can claim a deduction for at tax time.


Tracking these expenses can be challenging, so from 1 March to 30 June 2020,the ATO have introduced a temporary shortcut method. It's a simple way to calculate these expenses with minimal record keeping requirements. The ATO may extend this period, depending on when work patterns return to normal.


To find out more about these shortcuts please see here


  • Other Work Related Expenses


Examples include union fees, seminars, registrations and licensing, overtime meals, home office, telephone, subscriptions, briefcase or ladies bag that is used to carry a laptop), calculator, electronic organiser, depreciation on assets costing > $300 and write off of assets not exceeding $300.

**Please note: There will be a high scrutiny of these expenses this year, make sure that you follow the three golden rules when considering your deductions

  • Gifts or Donations

These are required to be paid to an endorsed deductible gift recipients and that the client did not receive any tangible benefit from making the donation eg lotteries or tickets to win a prize

**Please note no RSL Prize Homes raffles or any pens or items paid for under charity promotions

  • Cost of Managing Tax Affairs


Please note: this also includes any General Interest Charged by the ATO on a tax debt and travel to and from your tax agent.

  • Personal Superannuation Contributions


Strict rules apply to when an employee can claim a tax deduction.  Please ensure that your superannuation fund provides acknowledgement of the claim for the deduction. For more information on this please see here

Other Deductions


For example accident and sickness insurance premiums (income protection)

Don't forget to review our Tax-Time Tool Kit, which has specific industry and occupation deduction breakdowns. Find it here


For any queries on the above or to discuss your 2020 Tax Appointment, please call our friendly team on 07 5502 6673


Book your 2020 ONLINE "We-do-it-for-you" Tax Return here




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