Do you pay for an accountant to do your taxes? The ATO’s new myTax tool isn’t as complex as you may think and it’s entirely free to use, so why not do it yourself?
Paying an accountant to do your taxes for you might not seem like a big expense if you’re working full-time or even part-time, but if you’re preparing for retirement, or just looking to cut back on costs, you may want to consider lodging them yourself.
If your financial situation isn’t too complicated and you have all of your details on hand, your taxes might only take about half an hour to do. If you do run into some issues, or have to stop halfway through the process, you can save your progress so you don’t have to start all over again. myTax is compatible with Mac, PC, smartphones and tablets, so you shouldn’t run into any tech trouble when you’re getting things started.
To do your taxes online you’ll need a myGov account, so head over to the myGov website and click the ‘Create a myGov account’ button if you haven’t already got one.
This video will walk you through creating a myGov account and connecting it to the ATO.
Once your accounts are connected, log into myGov and then click the ATO button at the bottom of the page, next to where it says ‘My linked services’.
The following screen allows you to update your details, find your tax file number or determine whether you need to lodge a tax return this year, among other options. To begin lodging your taxes, click the ‘Lodge’ or ‘Lodge myTax’ button and then follow the prompts.
There are four steps:
- Are your contact details up to date?
- Are your financial institution details up to date?
- Personalise your return
- Prepare return
Steps 1 and 2 are straightforward, and if you haven’t recently moved or changed banks you may not need to update anything.
Steps 3 and 4 get a little bit more complicated. You will be required to fill out some information and check some boxes, but a lot of this will be pre-filled for you. This is because myTax gathers information from banks, employers, private health insurance funds and other government agencies and inserts it into myTax. Just make sure you double-check everything with your own records, as mistakes can occur.
The information that myTax gathers from third parties should be made available by early August, but you can lodge earlier by entering this information by yourself.
At the end of step 4 you will be given an estimate of your tax refund or amount owing.
Lastly, double check everything that you have entered then read over the declaration. By checking the box you are digitally signing your return.
After you lodge your return you will receive a receipt and you may also amend your return. To do this log back into myGov and open up the ATO website again. Mac or PC users can click Tax, located at the top of the page, then click Income Tax > View or amend results. Smartphone or tablet users can tap the Menu icon at the top left of the website, then tap Tax > Income Tax > View or amend returns.
Have you used myTax or eTax before? Did you find it easy to use?