Why it pays to get a professional tax agent



Having the right tax team behind you is imperative, especially if you want to make the endlessly complex ATO rules and regulations work for you. While the ATO has loads of helpful tips online and call center support to answer your tax questions, they typically give factual information only. Nothing quite compares to having a professional in your corner providing advice and looking for ways to help you.

Malcolm Strain, Head of Financial Services at Landen, says there are many ways an accountant can assist you throughout the financial year, especially as the October 31 deadline for filing your tax return rolls around.

“Firstly, by managing your taxes through an accountant you’ll get more time to complete and file your tax return because as Registered Accountants we have extended lodgment dates. Also, a good agent knows all the latest tax rule changes (which change often) and can therefore guide you towards maximising your return,” he says.

“We can negotiate with the ATO on your behalf when things become complex. We also work with our clients through providing tax planning advice to best structure your income and investments and make sure they’re tax effective. In addition, we work closely with our wealth and lending teams to help our clients look ahead and not just focus on past figures.”


Preparation is key

Getting your financial ducks in a row will help your accountant better understand you ‘on paper’ so it pays to be prepared.

“Gather your information – especially around potential deductions, investment property information, and other investments you hold. Be ready with questions. Think ahead so you can clearly articulate your goals and objectives with us. We can help you best when we know where you’ve been AND where you’d like to be headed,” Mr Strain explains.

Make sure you review you bank and credit card statements for any potential expenses you can claim. Keep records of any ABN income you may have earned. Don’t forget to record your hours spent working from home. Gathering your information early while it is fresh in your mind and avoiding the messy shoebox of receipts helps to avoid missing potential deductions.


Accountants can tailor tax strategies to you

Every person and their tax story are unique, which makes the one-size-fits-all approach of the ATO’s DIY tools challenging. A professional tax agent can personalise your strategy and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Individuals – We can assist by ensuring you are using the right structure for your income, identifying potential deductions, and showing you how to access equity for accumulating future wealth. We will discuss private health cover and other insurances that may be suitable for your circumstances and review your Super contributions and options.

Businesses – For busy business owners a tax agent can cut through the red tape and manage the timing of invoices and stock acquisition as well as PAYG payments and super contributions. They can also assist with ensuring the right structuring, monitor changes in your business and help you understand customer trends and growth opportunities.

Trusts – The tax nuances for trusts can be challenging for the uninitiated. By engaging a tax agent, you can ensure the right selection of beneficiaries, understand the potential of using corporate beneficiaries, make sure distributions are executed at the right time and keep on top of your documentation requirements.


Crunching the numbers on crypto

Investment in cryptocurrency has soared in recent years and understanding how this asset is treated at tax time takes experience. By speaking to a professional you can get a better idea of what you need to consider if you have sold any crypto assets during the tax year.

“There is no free ride. Cryptocurrency might be a relatively new asset class but transactions still attract the attention of the ATO. You need to be aware of capital gains tax (CGT) issues. How long you hold the asset will directly impact your potential CGT liability. Therefore, be sure to keep records of both the purchase and sale prices,” Mr Strain says.


Handling a SMSF at tax time

If you hold a self-managed super fund (SMSF) you will need to complete the financials for the fund and have it independently audited each year.

“At Landen we offer these services to our clients and help to ensure your fund is working right. Sometimes, without the right advice, an SMSF may have contraventions that require addressing. Having a professional team to ensure it remains compliant and avoids penalties is essential,” Mr Strain adds.

As an SMSF member you may choose to make concessional contributions as a way of building your superannuation, but you’ll need to be wary of going over the concessional contributions cap for the financial year. There are number of rules around contributions, earning and age requirements that can also make the world of Super and SMSFs tricky. A good tax agent will clear up ambiguities and keep you from overpaying tax – or underpaying and getting stung down the track.

To crunch the numbers on your personal tax situation, visit Landen’s tax calculator or get in touch with a Landen tax specialist today. Call 1300 526 336 or email us at hello@landen.com.au.