Personal Tax Returns: FAQs

We often receive queries about our personal tax return process and what various expenses you can claim as deductions, so we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions for you.

What is the process for completing personal returns?

  1. You complete the questionnaire and compile all the necessary documents for your return
  2. You are welcome to book an appointment with one of our advisors to discuss your return, otherwise you send us your documentation
  3. We prepare your return, and follow up with you if we have any queries
  4. We send your completed return out to you to review and e-sign through Xero, along with our invoice
  5. After you have paid and signed your return, we lodge your return with the ATO
  6. The ATO processes your return and issues a Notice of Assessment detailing either your refund amount or tax payable

Does your invoice come out of my refund?

No. We require payment of our invoice before we lodge your return.

Electronic signing? Why do I have to sign my return?

You are required to sign off on your Income Tax Return to confirm that it is true and correct before we can lodge. We use software called E-sign, which is part of Xero, to speed up the return preparation process and avoid snail mail. With E-Sign it’s instant. You’ll receive an email from us through Xero with a ‘review documents’ button – you just click that to start signing. Then once you’ve signed off your return it automatically comes back to us signed. You can read more about the signing process from Xero in this step by step.

How long until I receive my refund?

The ATO’s standard processing time for personal tax returns is two weeks – sometimes it’s shorter and sometimes it’s longer.

You can check the process of your return through myGov or just ask us to have a look 🙂

I don’t have all my documents together yet. Can you start my return without some of them?

We prefer to prepare and finalise your returns all in one go, so please make sure you have everything we’ll need to complete your return before you contact us.

You might like to use our questionnaire to make sure you have everything organised.

I don’t have my Payment Summary or Private Health Insurance statement

Payment Summaries don’t exist anymore – they’re called Income Statements now that everything is being reported through Single Touch Payroll directly to the ATO. We can access this information from the ATO, so no need to worry about finding this for us.

Private Health Insurers are no longer required to provide annual tax statements, so you may not receive them anymore. We can also access this information from the ATO, so in most cases we won’t need you to provide this either.

What do I need to send you?

We need details of all the income you received during the year, and any expenses you paid relating to your income that you’d like to claim as tax deductions.

Our Items to Consider flyer is useful to look at to see what you might like to claim, and our Is It Tax Deductible? flyer has a detailed rundown of various expenses and whether they can be claimed or not. Head over to our Resources for more.

I drive for work – what can I claim?

We’ve written a detailed post on this before as it can be tricky to work out.

I work from home a lot – what can I claim?

Since more and more people are working from home, it’s very common to claim home office expenses. But you must ensure you are only claiming legitimate expenses related to working from home, as the ATO is always on the lookout for iffy home office claims.

You can read our What Home Office Expenses Can I Claim? flyer, and check out our post for more detail.

I have a rental property – what can I claim?

Lots! Basically any expenses related to the running of your property. You can read our Property Investors Deduction Guide for some more detail on the kinds of expenses you claim against your rental income, and you can also check out our post on tips to help you avoid mistakes when preparing your rental information for your return.

I sold my rental property this year – what do I need to send you?

We’ll need to see the settlement statement for both the purchase and sale of the property to work out any capital gains. You should also include any other relevant documentation, like depreciation schedules, loan statements, and any other legal documents from the sale and purchase.

I have shares/managed fund distributions – what do I need to send you?

Sometimes we can access your dividend information from the ATO if your tax file number (TFN) is connected to your shareholdings, but we like to confirm their figures with those on the dividend statements you have received throughout the year, so please include all your dividend statements, even if the shares are in a reinvestment plan.

I sold some shares this year – what do I need to send you?

We’ll need the original purchase contract(s) as well as the sale contract, and every dividend statement if the shares were in a reinvestment plan.

We love Sharesight to help keep track of all our investments – let us know if you’re interested in a trial!

Organising my tax is a pain – is there an easier way?

At the end of the financial year, when compiling all your receipts/ documents/ paperwork to send to us to prepare your tax returns, ever wish you’d been saving things as they cropped up throughout the year?

We’ve implemented a system that means every client can have access to their folder on our portal to upload any documents throughout the year that they’d like to claim on their returns, for us to sort through at EOFY. If you’d like us to send you your personal portal link, please let us know.


As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss anything, please contact us!