Preventing An ATO Audit With Proper Lodgement Of Your Return

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The Australian tax system is designed to be fair to all, so we all must pay the correct amount of tax each year.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) contacts around 2 million taxpayers annually to review their tax returns, although not all undergo full detailed audits.

People who primarily deal in cash or experience significant income fluctuations are more likely to attract the ATO’s attention. However, anyone can be contacted, so it’s essential to stay organized with your paperwork and ensure you have receipts and documentation to support your claims. Even if everything is in order, a full audit from the ATO can consume significant time and resources.

To avoid the hassle of an audit, there are several innovative steps you can take:

  • Lodge Your Tax Returns on Time: Filing your tax returns promptly reduces the likelihood of errors and scrutiny when you submit them later.
  • Review and Double-Check Your Calculations: Checking and rechecking your numbers ensures accuracy before lodging your tax return. Working with a tax agent can help identify any errors and ensure compliance.
  • Declare Legitimate Deductions: Claim only deductions you’re entitled to, supported by receipts or documentation. If caught, attempting to claim illegitimate deductions can result in repayments and hefty fines.
  • Maintain Meticulous Records: Keep records, whether digital or physical, for every claimed item, including date, vendor, cost, and details. This is especially crucial for cash transactions.
  • Ensure Clarity in Claims: Make sure each tax claim is clear and understandable to the ATO. Vague or suspicious claims may prompt further inquiries.

While some “experts” may promise to maximise deductions using questionable claims, remember that you’re ultimately responsible and could face consequences if caught. When in doubt, seek assistance directly from the ATO or work with a reputable source.

Ultimately, nobody wants an audit from the ATO. Taking simple precautions can reduce the risk, provide peace of mind, and save time and hassle in the long run.

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