How To Do Tax Returns: I Got My Numbers Boyfriend To Explain What Tax Returns Are & How To Do Them This Tax Time

tax time tax returns how to do what is tax

My boyfriend is very smart. While I’m focusing on important things like what to wear on the weekend and why 77+33 doesn’t equal 100, he’s doing boring things like reading the news and doing taxes. His brain is so full sometimes I have to help him carry it. It’s full of knowledge and full of love, and we’re gonna get our filthy little mitts on some of those smarts today.

Like most people, I have no clue how to do my taxes. I don’t understand why the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) doesn’t just send you a bill every year telling you explicitly how much you owe it (or how much it owes you). Why do we have to solve the mystery ourselves with accountants and whatnot? It makes no sense. I don’t like it.

Luckily, my smart and sexilicious boyfriend knows all about this stuff. He gets it. He’s got the intelligences.

And so, I asked him to share some of those thoughts that burden him at night with the rest of Australia to help us at tax time.

After all, not all of us can be thinkers in this world. We need baddies who serve and slay with nary a thought.

A caveat before we begin, however, in the words of my darling boyfriend: “I’m not a financial adviser, just a financial lover.”

Please keep in mind that your situation may differ in certain instances when it comes to tax time, but for the most part, this knowledge should be general enough for everyone to take on and apply. Slay!

 When can I lodge my tax return in 2023?

“You can file taxes anytime from July 1 to October 31 each year,” said my boyfriend.

“If you miss the deadline you should definitely still file your taxes, but there may be a penalty depending on your circumstances.”

Okay, slay. That seems pretty easy to understand.

How do you do a tax return?

“You can either get a tax agent to do your taxes on your behalf or you can do them yourself,” said the BF, full of wisdom like some ancient turtle.

“If you do it yourself, you can do it online through the ATO myTax website which you can access by linking through your myGov account.

“You can also request a paper form and do it the old-fashioned way.”

Sounds easy enough.

What the BF failed to mention however is that you can also get your partner to do your taxes if they’re knowledgable enough to do so, but to be fair, if he asked ME to do them for him, he’d probably owe the ATO millions after I entered something wrong.

So what is a tax return?

It’s probably important when talking about tax returns to actually tell you what they are and what exactly you will be doing at tax time.

“This year’s tax period runs from July 1 2022 to June 30 2023 so you need to essentially declare all forms of income from this period in your return,” said the BF.

“You can make certain deductions if you are eligible and have the paperwork to prove it.

“If you’re unsure the best place to find more info is from the ATO themselves. Its website has a lot of specific info on it but you can also call them.”

Basically, you’ll be telling the ATO where you got all your money from as if they don’t already know in the first place. Fun!

How much tax will I pay this year?

For the most part, people with full-time jobs will be getting money back, which we call a tax return.

This is because your income is already taxed by your employer, and you deserve some of that back.

However, if you’re a freelancer who isn’t taxing their income, tax time is when you need to give the ATO what it’s owed.

This number could really punch you in the gut if you’re not careful, but then again, you’ve been earning money without paying tax for a whole year, so you can probably pay it off.

In 2023 however, you’re likely to see way less money in your tax return than in previous years. This is because the low and middle-income tax offset is officially dunzo, which usually saw an extra tax benefit of $1,500 in a bunch of people’s pockets.

This means that you’ll probably see $1,500 less in your return than in previous years, which makes it even more important to really consider what kind of things you can claim to boost your return.

What can I claim on tax?

The work-related expenses you can claim on tax will differ from job to job.

If you genuinely use your car for work (not to get to the job), you might be able to claim petrol. Are you a teacher buying scissors and glue for your students? Claim that shit, baby. As long as it’s a work-related expense, you could be owed some money back.

However, you can claim other things too.

“There are lots of specific deductions but in general, you might want to look at any donations you’ve made to eligible charities and organisations that have provided you with a deductible tax receipt in the relevant period (1/7/22-30/6/23),” said the BF.

“If you work from home a lot there are also two deduction methods available for that but you need to make sure you are eligible and have the paperwork to prove it.

“It’s not as simple as it was last year and the year before because there was a temporary method available due to COVID that was easier to calculate.”

The BF makes a good point. The ATO itself has even sent out a warning for folks looking to lie on their tax return about how much they worked at home. Always remember, the ATO know all. You can’t lie to them.

We’ve got a full guide on what you can claim on your tax return right here.

How long does a tax return take?

So you’ve lodged your tax return for 2023 and are now patiently twiddling your thumbs, waiting for your bank account to have more than $5.50 in it. But what are the tax return processing times actually like for the ATO?

According to the ATO, they usually aim to process most tax returns in a two-week window. But this can also be longer depending on how complex the return is or if they need to double-check any of your handy work.

Do I need to lodge a tax return?

I don’t know about you, but I’m on all fours during tax time. Free(ish) money? Fuck yes.

But if you’re not a big fan of money Christmas, that’s okay too.

In order to get back any money from the taxes you paid, you must lodge a tax return. Even if you’re under the tax-free threshold (which is $18,200) and don’t earn much cash, you’ll likely be eligible to get back all the tax you paid during the year. That’s hot.

Just don’t wanna fuck around with tax? Well, the government says you have to lodge a tax return unless they explicitly tell you that you don’t have to. Sorry.

How do I spend my tax return?

Wisely, girl.