Track Expenses Electronically for Next Tax Time

Last night, I visited my accountant to go through the yearly ritual of the tax return. For some people, this might be a mind-numbing activity with onerous preparations involving that shoebox of receipts, tax invoices and other bits of paper that float around in various places.

What made things easier for me this year was obtaining as many tax invoices as possible in electronic format. For some things such as internet bills, mobile bills and electronic goods this will be very easy but for other items such as receipts from car parks you’re going to have to stash the paper somewhere (but hopefully less of it). I’m also lucky that my PAYG summary is provided in PDF as well as my private health insurance statement.

Another thing that I do as the year progresses is to keep a spreadsheet of all the expenses that I incur as the are incurred. I keep track of:

  • the date of payment,
  • the descriptions of the expense,
  • a percentage  of the expense that is relevant to university and/or work,
  • the cost exclusive of GST,
  • GST (if applicable),
  • total cost.

Then, once the new financial year clicks over and I have all of my stuff in order (the slowest piece of information is always the private health insurance statement) I give my accountant a call to setup a time to go through everything.

Whilst there is a bit of ongoing work involved and a little dedication to stick with it it makes things heaps easier when you get around to seeing your accountant or doing your tax return yourself either on paper or electronically through e-tax.

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