Mythbusting the tax accountant’s industry

The busy season is here, and we are meeting our clients everyday to help with preparing their tax returns, business and tax advisory and bookkeeping queries. Very often during our conversations they raise some interesting questions, let’s have a look at some of them here.

You work for the ATO!

At times we get comments from clients to say that we work for the ATO instead of them, mostly we hear this when they were hit by an unexpected tax liability. This is again incorrect! We act as the bridge between you and the ATO – combining your raw data with our knowledge in tax, to compile your tax return. When dealing with the ATO on your behalf, we always act on your behalf, as your tax agent, and we always do our best to protect your interest.

You are just punching numbers into tax returns!

There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes than just “punching numbers into returns”! Before we start preparing your tax return, we check if you have any outstanding tax debts, or outstanding tax lodgements, and will remind or advise you your next steps to tackle them.

While preparing your tax return, we use information provided by different agencies to ensure the information we use are accurate, this reduces the chance the ATO needs to contact us/you down the track. This includes matching up your data with the ATO’s records, or confirming details with other agencies. At times we also deal with outside parties/agencies with your authorisation so you don’t have to.

After lodgement of your tax return, we will receive your Notice of Assessment from the ATO. We check to ensure the information from the ATO matches with our estimates, and investigate further if it doesn’t. We will also advise you why it is different and whether any further action is required.

From time to time the ATO may contact us in relation to your tax matters – whether it is your tax debts, or your outstanding lodgements, or simply clarification on certain things – we have all these covered without even you realising.

On top of all these, we are constantly updating ourselves with the new legislations, by going to regular trainings we ensure you do not miss out your tax claims, or fall into any tax traps!

A good accountant is one who gets me the most refund

There are a few factors around the amount of refund you receive, which we don’t have control of, and it can be different every year:

  • Your income earned
  • Your tax withheld
  • Any PAYG Instalments made
  • Your tax deductions
  • Your HECS debt
  • The ATO’s tax rates & legislations
  • The list goes on and on…

At Aston, we believe in a different kind of a “good tax accountant”.

We believe that a good tax accountant is one who assesses your situation and prepares your tax return based on the information provided, with the knowledge of what is an allowable deduction, and weeds out the non-tax-deductible claims to ensure all your claims are legally acceptable.

By doing so we also mitigate your future risk of being audited by the ATO because you have an illegal deduction claimed. The reduction of risk is much more valuable than the a few extra bucks of tax refund now – at least you can sleep soundly at night!

Can you tell me what refund I get this year?

As mentioned above there are factors that affect your tax position and it changes from year to year. Without properly preparing your tax return it is difficult to ascertain your tax position.

Why did my mate has got much more refund than I do

Everyone’s tax situations are different – in fact we can rarely find two person’s tax matters that are identical to each other! Because of that, everyone will have a different amount of tax refund/payable when preparing their tax return. There is no need to envy someone who has a higher tax refund than you because at the end of the day, assuming everyone abides by the law, we all pay the right amount of tax.

My tax refund should cover my fees to prepare it

As your tax agent, we are not compensated based on the amount of refund you receive, nor are our fees related in any ways to your estimated tax refund amounts. This is a general misconception by the general public. Our fees are based on the complexity of your tax return, and not how much you expect for your tax refund. Prior to the commencement of a job we generally provide you with a guide on how much our fees would be – it usually comes in the form of an engagement letter, detailing the terms and conditions of our service to you.