Tax return: How to manage my receipts?

With the TAX return season approaching individuals, as well as businesses, are reaching for their receipts that have been saved up during the past financial year. Gathering your receipts is an important part when preparing for the tax return season.

If in the past tax year you have had any household expenses, doctors’ appointments, child care costs, business travels or educational expenses, make sure you keep all the receipts. Whether you choose to stack them in an envelope or use online apps we recommend staying organized and sticking to the habit of saving all the necessary information.

Collect all receipts

If you are preparing for the annual tax return season you will start by gathering your receipts. One of the most important tips while preparing is to stay organized:

Keep track of your household expenses – repairs, water and electricity bills, mortgage, insurance, etc.

If you have a child with of age under 12 keep track of the child care expenses – school bills, doctors, child care services;

Educational expenses – tuition, study material, and travel costs;

Medical care as well as dental costs;

Business travel.

These are only a few examples and tips on receipts you should save for your tax return. We recommend keeping your receipts for at least 3 years as ATO can ask for an audit anytime during this period. Saving your receipts allows you to maximize your refund, stay organized and ask for guidance from a tax professional or financial advisor.

Best receipt apps

When saving your receipts we recommend going paperless, this can help to avoid the damage or loss of your receipts. Nowadays apps like Expensify allows you to scan and categorize your receipts so you can stay organized.

Expensify – scan your receipt with your phone camera and the app will automatically detect your spendings and even business travel expenses;

Receiptmate – this app collaborates with Evernote which not only allows you to save your receipts by scanning them but also gives you the ability to access them from any device;

Receipts by wave – tracks your online spendings, email confirmations, as well as scanning physical receipts. You can categorize your receipts for your business as well as personal spendings;

Smartreceipt – allows you to scan your receipts and saves them in PDF format, the receipts get organized and your spendings are tracked. This app is perfect for those who travel a lot as the app recognizes most foreign currencies.

What can I claim on tax without receipts?

ATO prefers saving your receipts when preparing for the annual tax return, but what happens if you have lost or damaged your receipt?

If you no longer hold the receipt but still wish to submit your expense you will need to make sure that your expense has been directly related to your business, you have paid it yourself and you have not been paid back. Additionally to these statements you will need to provide a bank statement showing your transactions. Unfortunately, even if you can provide all the necessary information ATO still can deny your deduction.

You will be able to claim:

Travel / Petrol expenses – work-related travel and fuel usage;

Electronics – new items purchased for your home office, you might have to present photos of the packaging of such items;

Stationery – office items such as – paper, pens, printing services, etc., same as office electronics this might require the actual photo of the items.

ATO will not accept – expenses without receipt paid in cash and items with no evidence of you purchasing it, ATO will allow you to claim a maximum value of 300$.