How to get the most out of your tax return, and the ATO’s new data matching method

Matt Free from A Grade Tax Penrith. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Tax time is approaching once again, and despite a few changes from last year, there are still plenty of ways to optimise your return.

According to Matt Free from A Grade Tax in Penrith and ProYou in Parramatta, being prepared is key.

“Going into tax time prepared is very important to ensure that your tax return is not delayed in being prepared or lodged,” he told the Weekender.

When it comes to how to do this, the basics are the same, including ensuring that your bank details are current with the ATO and, if you are using a tax agent, trying to provide them with a concise summary of income and deductions.

“It’s important to ensure that you have gathered all your receipts for work related tax claims for this financial year,” he said.

“If you claim work related motor vehicle expenses, make sure you have a logbook, or a record of the business kilometres travelled during the year.”

Free notes that there are a few changes that taxpayers should be aware of as the end of the financial year approaches.

“Low to middle income earners can expect reduced tax refunds due to certain tax offsets finishing in the prior year. This could impact taxpayers by up to $1500,” he said.

“Claims for working from home deductions have also decreased from 80c/hour to 67c/hour for 2023. The ATO will be looking at the claims for working from home expenses to ensure they are appropriate.”

However, he assures there are still plenty of ways you can optimise your return ahead of the June 30 deadline.

“If you need to purchase any work-related equipment like computers or home office expenses, do it before June 30, 2023 to get the deduction in this year’s return. This is the same for if you are considering donating to registered charities,” he said.

“You can also top up your concessional superannuation contributions to the maximum deductible amount of $27,500. This amount includes your employer contributions, so be careful not to exceed the maximum.”

As always, the option is there to use the free myTax service, which will have you done and dusted in under 30 minutes. However, for those dealing in more complex tax affairs, including if you have traded in Cryptocurrency, have rental property investments, or are retired and have your own Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF), seeing a tax agent may be the best option.

“If you have any doubts about what you need to declare as income or what you can claim as a tax deduction, I would advise seeking out assistance, rather than filing your tax return on your own,” he said.

If you are preparing your own return, the last date to lodge is October 31, 2023, If you are using a tax agent, the lodgement date can be as May 15, 2024.


The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) continues to expand its data-matching capability to ensure taxpayers don’t leave out income or inflate deductions this tax time.

New data is now rolling into the ATO from property managers, landlord insurance providers, financial institutions providing loans for residential investment properties and sharing economy providers, as well as income protection policy information.

“This isn’t a game of Guess Who, as our sophisticated data-matching programs provide us with all the clues we need to track down taxpayers with incorrect information in their tax return,” said ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh said.

“We will use this information to identify and educate taxpayers who have made incorrect claims in their return, with a longer-term plan to pre-fill as much information as possible in future years.”

Cassidy Pearce

Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.

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