How to get a head start on the new tax year

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The average Australian misses out on $426 of unclaimed tax each year – or $1.65 billion nationwide.

To help you make the most of the new tax year so that you can meet your financial goals, we asked three financial services professionals for their best suggestions.

1. Set up a new account for deductible expenses

Ray Jaramis, Financial Life Manager at Treysta Wealth Management & 2016 IFA Newcomer Of The Year

“Before 1 July is an ideal time to do an audit on your bank account structure.

Have a look at how you've been using your bank accounts over the past 12 months to identify if there are any traps you fell into.

In particular, it can be really helpful to have an account that is just for deductible expenses so when it is time to get that tax return locked in, the process is as easy as printing out a bank statement and shooting it off to the accountant.

And the best time to set that new bank account up is before the new financial year begins.”

2. Understand what you can and can't claim in that new account

Ben Nash, Director of Pivot Wealth and 2015 AFA Rising Star Finalist

“Most occupations these days have expenses that are deductible, in particular due to our increasing tendency to work more from home. If you don't know what you can claim, you're likely missing out on tax deductions.

You need to know what you can claim in advance so you can keep good records and maximise your deductions without running into trouble with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Take the time to understand what you can claim based on your job and employment arrangements. If you don't know where to start, the ATO has a lot of very helpful content on their website and even some examples based on different occupations.

If you don’t have a good personal tax accountant, find one now and ask them to help you understand the things you can be claiming.”

3. Start making plans to claim this year's deductions

Peta Tilse, Director of Levantine Wealth and ABC Radio Brisbane Mornings' finance expert

“Some people have already maximised their deductions and may be due to receive a tax refund in the new financial year.

So, a good way to ensure a great start to the new financial year is to start planning to get your tax return in early so you can get your refund faster.

Once you receive it, don't be tempted to spend it. Instead, look to pay down any non-deductible debt like credit cards, personal loans, or home loans.

If you are lucky enough to be debt free, then consider how much you are allowed to put into superannuation. Otherwise, look to invest it for the longer term.

If stock picking isn't your thing, there are a number of ETFs (exchange traded fund) or LICs (listed investment company) that can offer attractive, hassle free returns over time.”

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Important: This article has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial or taxation situation or needs of any particular individual. Before acting on the information, you should consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. Any information used in this article is for illustrative purposes only. Treysta Wealth Management, Pivot Wealth and Levantine Wealth is an external entity that is not a member of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group of Companies (the Group) and the content or any view expressed by Treysta Wealth Management, Pivot Wealth and Levantine Wealth and its employees does not represent an endorsement, recommendation, guarantee or advice in regard to any matter. CBA, nor members of the Group accept any liability for losses or damage arising from any reliance on external parties their products, services and material.