We are a registered tax agent and a certified practicing Accountant and have been so for over 50 years. A registered tax agent is the only one qualified to invoice you to complete a tax return. Similar to a doctor diagnosing patients and an engineer building bridges – you use us for our expertise which will allow you to focus on what you do.
Lodging your tax returns through the ATO versus lodging them with US
We are not sure how much you love paperwork, but most of our clients prefer to leave the worry, hassle and deadlines for us to take care of. We can help you organise the paperwork and make sure all documents are completed satisfactorily to lodge your returns.
When you work with us and we put you on our lodgement program, as long as you do not have any outstanding tax returns from prior years, you will receive an additional 6 plus months to lodge your tax returns. This is certainly helpful if you are tax payable or need more time to prepare your tax returns.
The ATO are happy if you claim deductions that are legitimate and that actually occurred. If however, you miss a deduction and miss out on a refund, money you are legitimately entitled to, the ATO are not going to actively pursue you. However, if you don’t claim income that you should have been taxed on, they will pursue you.
This is why we will make sure you are claiming all income and all legitimate expenses. This will give you peace of mind and make sure you are doing the right thing.
Couple/Employees/ 2 children/Investment property
After having their previous year’s tax returns prepared by a franchised accounting firm, they came to us to prepare their tax returns. The cost for us to prepare the returns was $200 more than that charged by the other tax firm but additional deductions found by us resulted in a $600 increase in their tax refunds.
Mary from Templestowe purchased a hairdressing business. She decided to complete her individual tax return online.
The result: She received a huge tax bill from the ATO because she didn’t complete it properly.
Thankfully we were able to fix Mary’s mistake. Our experience and relationship with the ATO meant we were able to fix the problem and reduce her liability. We saved her money and reduced her risk.
This is not a problem as technology like Skype and a Client Portal makes it easy to communicate. We can also do most activities through email and scan (take photos) of any required documents. Refunds can be processed without you being in the country through the technology that is available now.
Lodge Your Overdue Tax Returns
It is never too late to lodge your overdue tax returns but why delay any longer. The government’s aim is to pursue all tax owed to them and the ATO’s policy is for you to have all tax returns lodged where you have earned income; it doesn’t matter how much time has passed.
The ATO are tracking outstanding tax returns and if you don’t lodge them, you could be up for costly fines, penalties and worst case scenario jail time! It is important to lodge them every year as soon as they become due.
We believe we are best to assist with overdue tax returns for the following reasons:
- We have been around since 1965 and have lodged well over 30,000 tax returns in this time
- We have dealt with the ATO more than 10,000 times for our clients in the last number of years.
- We are easily accessible should you wish to ask a question and follow up the status of returns.
It is important to remember, the ATO has become increasingly active at chasing overdue tax returns as they are trying to recover as much tax as possible. If you wait a long period of time and don’t lodge you could be penalised from the ATO. We cannot predict if the ATO won’t charge penalties, even if you are refundable. Given that we have liaised and dealt with so many clients and the ATO over 50 years, we are best equipped to assist you to get the best outcome from the ATO and your return.
How Do We Work?
When you call or make the enquiry, in order to make sure you are prepared we provide you with an email and call you to establish that you have all information to complete the returns and understand the process. We clarify your needs and our clients have commented that they have felt at ease and there were no surprises going into the initial meeting.
Unlike other accounting firms, you will meet our client manager first who takes you through what to expect when seeing our accountants. They will establish what deductions might be applicable and also advise you of cost.
We like to separate the process from seeing the accountant first as it allows clients to feel more comfortable before proceeding.
In this initial meeting, we look from a financially holistic perspective. As we are financial planners and have close relationships with Mortgage brokers, business coaches and lawyers, we like to use the expression that the “Left hand knows what the right hand is doing”.
We will communicate with you at the start, during (depending on the complexity) and the end of the work. This will help confirm if we are on track or if there are any surprises that we were not made aware of, before we started the return. We also like to advise where we have added value and what work has been done so there is complete transparency.
How Much Do We Charge?
Our fees (including the appropriate amount of GST) will be billed as work progresses and are based on the time required by the individuals assigned to the engagement plus direct out-of-pocket expenses such as, but not limited to, photocopying, and any other disbursements outlaid on your behalf. Please Note: The Fees are subject to review on an annual basis effective from 1 July each year.
Due to the nature of accounting, we are unable to give accurate estimates of the professional costs which will be incurred; however, we will provide an initial best estimate of hourly costs if so required. To enable you to plan and make allowance for your ongoing commitment for professional costs we shall submit to you if required, accounts for payment on a monthly basis and/or upon completion of a particular assignment. Fees are payable within seven (7) days of the account being rendered.
Calculation of professional costs will be made in accordance with CPA Australia guidelines (APES 110) being a fair reflection of the value of work performed, taking into account:
(a) the skill and knowledge required for the type of work involved, while the work, as defined, is within our knowledge and skills, any changes to the work may necessitate making new arrangements with you;
(b) the level of training and experience of the persons necessarily engaged on the work;
(c) the time necessarily occupied by each person engaged on the work; and
(d) the degree of responsibility that the work entails
The rates charged on a time basis, cover staff hours, including travelling time at an hourly rate.
Time is charged in 6-minute increments and electronically recorded and collated for any work that is performed by any member of our staff in the provision of but not limited to:
- Preparation of any and all required documentation for the completion and lodgement of Tax Returns and Financial Reports
- ASIC reporting
- GST requirements for all individuals and any associated entities and/or related parties
This includes any form of advice, including meetings, telephone discussions, communications, – written, verbal or electronic, Centrelink queries, appraisals, investigations, research and form completion, maintenance and administration of your taxation/company/super/trust/partnership files and any other matters on which time is spent in relation to your affairs.
We work best with clients that are business owners, contractors and clients who have multiple years tax returns outstanding. The reason why is:
(1) Our years of experience mean we are well equipped and understand businesses
(2) Our strategic alliances include lawyers, BAS agents, business coaches and mortgage brokers who can further assist
(3) We are both financial planners and accountants- which means we can assist in most facets of business.
Please refer to our Business Planning page and our individual and specific industry pages for further details.
Some reasons you may not have lodged your tax returns
Don’t worry if this has occurred as we can work with you and the ATO on options. The most common is a missing group certificate or any record of my income for a certain year. This is fine, because in most instances your employer was supposed to notify the ATO of your income and tax. However if they haven’t, we can use pay slips or bank accounts to determine the correct amount of tax and income. If all else fails, we can liaise with the ATO on options for you.
If it is an expense or deduction give us a call on 03 9848 5933 to discuss this further.
If your income is below the tax free threshold or you had no income, you are still required to notify the ATO. We will work with you and make sure the most appropriate option is completed. This lets the ATO know that you were not required to lodge a tax return that year.
We will work with you and the ATO. As we are both accountants and financial planners we can assess your cash flow and complete a budget for you.
As explained above, as you get a longer period to lodge your tax returns, we can complete the work and then focus on paying off the ATO and our invoice. If cash flow is tight, we can provide you payment plans for our invoices and work with the ATO on payment plans.
Finally not completing a return is worse than owing the ATO money. The ATO can be very reasonable when you have fully disclosed what you owe or a problem that may have occurred as you get information lodged accurately and honestly. When we get notifications from the ATO that you owe the ATO money we will call you to make sure we do not need to get involved and assist you. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to catch up. When you have completed the returns, we have found our clients feel a sense of achievement and relief.
*Please note: This information (including taxation) is general in nature and does not consider your individual circumstances or needs. Do not act until you seek professional advice. We cannot guarantee that the ATO won’t charge late fees as this will depend on your individual tax history, but we can negotiate with the ATO for you to minimise any penalties. We cannot determine when the ATO process refunds.