Time and time again I hear (and witness) clients simply signing off on a Return their accountant has sent them. Big mistake! Surprisingly, accountants are only human. They interpret your information and data in a certain way and hence complete your Returns accordingly. If you don’t check or question their input – why are you signing? And what are you signing off on?
Below are some tips to check and look out for when you receive your Business Activity Statements or Tax Returns for any entity type:
1/ Depreciation Schedule i) If you have a depreciation claim – a depreciation schedule must be provided showing all of your entity’s depreciable assets such as office equipment and motor vehicles ii) Depreciation amount on depreciation schedule to equal what is being claimed within the Return iii) Check for items which need to be scrapped (ie written off)?
2/ Any part of your Return referring to a Schedule? Check it against the Schedule. It should not remain a mystery!
3/ Check all your income and expenses have been picked up per your Profit & Loss and/or summary (You’d be amazed how many accountants don’t reconcile the final result to the original submission provided by the client)
4/ Make sure your prior year accounting fee has been deducted (Commonly missed deduction!)
5/ Tax Agents are more and more reliant on Pre-Filling Reports available from the ATO. These Reports re a summary of information the ATO has against your Tax File Number from different organisations such as banks, ASX listed companies, employers, OSR etc. – Just be aware that these reports are not always 100% correct and they may not show 100% of all your bank accounts, dividends etc.
6/ Check your accountant speaks the same language style as you do! Nothing worse than an accountant using highly technical language and confusing you further. Or worse – not answering that million dollar question of yours!
And remember – it is ultimately you who is responsible for 5 years!