Tip Tuesday - Top 10 Questions you need to be asking your Accountant

Tip Tuesday | Top 10 questions you need to be asking your accountant

Whether you have an accountant already or you are completely new to the idea, this ones for you… If you rely solely on free or inexpensive accounting tool or advice, instead of a trained professional accountant, it could be a costly mistake for you or your business.

Investing in a professional accountant that has the required licensing and experience can be worth every extra penny you spend, as they can advise you of potential financial mishaps well before they will happen and maximise your chances of a healthy return come tax time.

When you do go to invest in the services of an accountant, its important you know what to ask before engaging in their services…

What is the best way to contact you and how often should we speak to each other?

A seemingly simple and straight forward question, but it should be addressed in the very early stages of building a new relationship with your accountant. Clear, effective and regular communication is the key to a beneficial relationship with your accountant. Decide early on how you will communicate and whether it needs to be weekly, monthly or quarterly.

How can you help me to prepare for tax time?

Preparing for tax time… A task that the majority of us cringe at – but it doesn’t have to be that way! You’ll want to ask your accountant which tax credits and deductions you should claim, and weather weather there are any new tax laws you should be taking advantage of to maximise write-offs.

To avoid the ‘end of year rush’ a good accountant will advise you of the steps to take throughout the year to streamline tax time for you as an individual or a business owner.

What deductions do people commonly claim in their tax return? Can I claim any of these as well? Are there any work related expenses specific to the industry I work in?

There may be many deductions you aren’t aware your able to claim. For example: most charitable donations are tax detectable , laundry expenses may be claimed for washing work uniforms or you may be able to claim for certain safety equipment.

I’ve heard that having health insurance can help reduce my tax, does that apply to me?

There are certain income earners that may be required to pay a Medicare levy surcharge if they don’t hold minimum levels of private health cover.

I sometimes work from home, am I able to claim home office expenses on my tax return?

Many people who do some form of work from their home may be able to claim on home office expenses. Deductions can include: Internet connection or stationary and office supplies.

Should I consider salary sacrificing some of my salary and wages into super? What are the advantages of doing this?

There may be tax advantages for you by sacrificing some of your salary to increase your retirement savings. A good accountant will be able to evaluate your current situation and offer advice as to weather this is something you should be doing.

(If you’re a business owner): How can you help me to grow my business?

A qualified accountant with a focus on small business accounting will be able to work with you to get your business from point a to point b. It’s worthwhile to spend the time (and money) finding an accountant that has the relevant experience and access to the latest software and applications that can assist in creating a plan with goals for you and your business to achieve.

(If you’re a business owner): What are some special considerations for my particular industry?

Businesses in different industries come with their own accounting issues. For instance a medical professional may not have the same issues as say, a construction worker. Your accountant should be familiar with your industry and the various constraints involving it. It would not be a good investment for you to use the services of an accountant that hasn’t got the insight into your businesses industry.

(If you’re looking at borrowing for investment purposes): What is negative gearing? Is it something I should consider?

Anyone who is interested in borrowing for investment purposes should be made aware of what exactly negative gearing is and how it may impact your tax.

(If you have an investment property): Do I need a quantity surveyor’s report for tax purposes?

There are certain tax deductions that you may be entitled to for your investment property. Finding an accountant that has the experience with investment is paramount to ensure you don’t miss out on claiming all of your entitlements.

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