Client Details

  • Do you want a detailed check of client details that may need to be updated?

  • Has any change of address been updated?

  • Has any change in the number of dependants been updated?

  • Has any change in employment been noted?

  • Has any purchase or sale of real estate been noted?

  • From the ATP Portal, have you ensured all income from prior year has been declared, and pre populated this years income in the return?

  • Has any change in marital status been noted?

  • Has change in residency been updated?

  • If this a new client, do you want a detailed check of details to be updated?

  • Does the client meet ethical requirements?

  • Do not accept clients where:
    ... They are in conflict with an existing client;
    ... They appear unwilling or unable to pay for our services;
    ... They are attempting to defraud the Commonwealth

  • Has the client's identity been confirmed?

  • Proof of identity sighted

  • Where required, do we have a clearance from their previous accountant?

  • Name of previous tax agent and clearance date

  • Where required, do we have a signed engagement letter for this client?

  • Date of engagement letter

  • Has the tax residency of the client been determined?

  • Has the client been added to our client list and data on the ATO portal been downloaded?

  • Have you viewed the prior year taxation return?

  • Does the client have a power of attorney or legal representative?

  • Name and contact details of power of attorney or potential legal representative

  • Obtain details of alternate contact should the client become incapacitated. This may occur from serious illness, accident, or absence due to overseas travel.

Income - Employment

  • Do you want a detailed review of salary or wages issues?

  • What industry is the client in?

  • Have all PAYW statements been entered in the return?

  • Have any reportable superannuation contributions and reportable fringe benefits been entered in the return?

  • Reportable superannuation is any salary sacrifice contributions made by your employer. The amount is added to your taxable income to give your Adjusted Taxable Income, which is the income figure used to determine eligibility to government benefits.

  • Any Employment Termination Payment received has been entered?

  • Any benefits from employee share schemes have been entered?

  • Has the client considered the benefits from salary sacrificing?

  • Does the client have adequate income protection insurance in the event of serious injury or illness? Ensured all premiums have been entered?

  • Income protection insurance provides a salary stream where the client is not able to work for an extended period. Usually it covers 75% of the clients current earnings level after a waiting period agreed under the policy. An insurance broker is the best source of advice for the correct level of insurance cover.

  • Does the client have an insurance broker contact?

  • The name of the broker and phone number

Income - Investment

  • Do you want a detailed review of Investment Income issues?

  • Did the client receive any interest income and amounts entered?

  • Did the client receive any dividends, trust distributions or overseas income and all entered?

  • Does the client have a regular savings plan/budget apart from superannuation?

  • Does the client have an investment line of credit or similar facility?

  • An investment line of credit takes advantage of the client's equity in their own home or their equity in shares or other property, to increase their investment assets or to buy investment assets sooner. It is helpful if these loan facilities are not used for private purposes, such as holidays or home improvements.

  • Does the client have a source of regular, informed and independent investment advice?

  • Name of source of investment advice

  • There are many sources for investment products and strategies, including

    1. Your own research
    2. Your bank, particularly for cash investments
    3. An independent stockbroker, for example Morgans

  • Would you be interested in attending an economic update seminar organised by our firm?

  • The timing and location of the next seminar:

Income - Retirement

  • Do you need a detailed review of retirement income and related issues?

  • The benefits of a transition to retirement pension are being enjoyed where client qualifies?

  • Does the client have an adequate superannuation fund?

  • Recommended source for further information or further action

  • Consider alternatives to current arrangements, especially industry funds. DIY fund is not always an option, if the client is not going to actively manage investments there may be little advantage to a DIY fund.

  • Does the client receive a pension?

  • What type of pension does the client receive?

  • Have you ensured pension rebate has been correctly credited?

  • Has the client considered the options for family members? For example, children's housing needs..

  • Does the client have a Will, and is it still up to date?

  • Details of solicitor

  • If the client does not have a retained solicitor, provide details of a solicitor known to our firm.

Capital Assets

  • Do you want a detailed review of the client's assets?

  • Has the taxpayer sold their principal residence during the year?

  • Has a YES response to item 18G and at item 18M with code for main residence exemption subsection 118-B be shown in the taxation return? Sale of principle residence is a CGT event.

  • If the client has sold any assets, have the gains or losses been entered in the taxation return?

  • Has the client been advised of any and all taxation issues in relation to their principal place of residence, including CGT and land tax?

  • Does the client have an insurance broker familiar with their affairs and ensured all assets are adequately insured?

  • Name of broker/insurance company

  • Does the client have assets protected in case of claims from business or other creditors?

  • Describe asset ownership structure and how assets are protected/ could be protected

Deductions - Investment expenses

  • Do you want a detailed check of potential investment deductions?

  • All Interest related to investments entered?

  • All investment related Bank fees entered?

  • All investment related Seminars, books, newspapers, software, subscriptions claimed?

  • Travel costs to investment related seminars, meetings claimed?

  • All Investment advice claimed?

  • Cost of initial investment advice to set up portfolio is capital in nature, cannot be claimed, part of the cost if investments.. ATO 95/60
    http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?locid='TXD/TD9560/NAT/ATO'&PiT=99991231235958

  • Proportion of Home study expenses claimed?

  • Has the client considered prepaying expenses, especially interest, to minimise tax payable?

Deductions - Employment Expenses

  • Do you want a detailed check of possible employment related expenses?

  • Have all work related computer expenses been claimed?

  • Have all work related mobile phone expenses been claimed?

  • Have all union and other membership fees been claimed?

  • Has all business travel been claimed, including if applicable, incidental expenses up to $200 if not receipted?

  • Has all clothing expenses been claimed, including purchase of uniform, and laundry of uniform?

  • Have all subscriptions, books, journals and newspapers related to work been claimed?

  • Has the use of employee home for work related purposes been fully claimed?

  • Have all sun protection costs been entered?

  • Have all conference and seminar costs, including travel been claimed?

  • Have all tools and equipment purchased for work been claimed?

  • Have all overtime meals costs been claimed?

  • Where total deductions exceed $300, is there receipts and other documentation to substantiate claims as the law requires?

Deductions - Motor Vehicle Expenses

  • Do you want a detailed review of motor vehicle claims?

  • Does the client understand what is business use of a vehicle?

  • Does the client have a log book less than five years old?

  • Can an estimate be reasonably made of the number of kilometres of business travel?

  • If the business travel exceeds 5000km has either one third of costs ( including depreciation) been claimed or 12% of the cost of the vehicle?

  • Have all parking and toll expenses been claimed?

  • Is the client contemplating the purchase of a new vehicle?

  • Has the client determined how the purchase will be financed?

  • Note the financing option chosen or the options to be considered

Deductions - Self Education

  • Do you require a detailed check of self education expenses?

  • Is there a reasonable connection between education costs and current income earning activities?

  • Has the distinction between self education and continuing professional education been explained and understood, and the $250 threshold deducted if required?

  • Have all allowable study related travel costs been entered?

  • Have all home study related to study been considered and entered as allowable?

  • If there is a HECS/HELP liability has the amount been determined and entered into the tax payable estimate?

Home Office / Study

  • Do you want to do a detailed check of home expenses which can be claimed?

  • Is the distinction between a home office and a home study understood by client?

  • Has the client been alerted to potential CGT on a home office, especially if the client is an employee?

  • Have you considered all potential home related expenses, including insurance, rates, interest, electricity, repairs

  • Has the client purchased any office supplies or equipment for use in the home office/study?

Home Business

  • Do you want a detailed check of home/new business issues?

  • Is the distinction between business and a hobby understood?

  • Have all GST registration and collection issues been explained and dealt with?

  • Have any losses from non-commercial activities or where other income exceeds $250,000, been quarantined?

  • Has the ability to write off any assets costing less than $6500 been advised to the client?

  • Does the client have an up to date business plan?

  • Does the client have a good relationship with a bank that supports the requirements of their business?

  • If the client needs a banking contact, provide details of two local banking contacts known to our firm

Property Investment

  • Do you want a review of property investment claims?

  • Do we have the cost base recorded on file for all properties owned by the client?

  • Have all rental income been declared on a grossed up basis?

  • Have you considered building allowance deductions on all properties?

  • Has all plant and equipment in the property been identified and being claimed?

  • Are borrowing costs being amortised over the life of loans or 5 years, whichever is shorter period?

  • Has the client considered insurable risks and claimed all premiums for insurance policies in place?

  • Is the distinction between repairs and improvements understood by the client?

  • Have you reviewed whether the client is subject to land tax?

  • Is the client considering investment in property and interested in knowing tips and traps from a taxation perspective?

  • Does the client understand leverage and negative gearing and impact on taxable income?

  • Is the client aware of land tax charges?

  • Is the client aware of the building allowances rules?

  • Does the client know how to evaluate the investment returns on a prospective property investment? ( Consider use of Rental Property software)

  • Does the client know a reliable source of advice for investment in the property market?

Other Claims

  • Have tax agent fees and other tax related costs been claimed?

  • The amount paid during the year can be claimed, not the amount to be charged for this year. Also any travel costs or advice received in relation to taxation

  • Have all tax deductible donations been claimed?

  • Does the client qualify for Medicare exemption or reduction?

  • Do you have private health cover with a statement from your health fund?

  • Do you qualify for up to 30% rebate?

  • Where your net Medical Expenses exceed $2,120, have all costs been included?

  • Do you have a dependent spouse but no children?

  • Dependent spouse can be claimed where the spouse was born before 1/7/1952, their Adjusted Taxable Income (ATI) was less than $9,974 and the clients ATI is less than $150,000.

Summary

  • Have any tax losses and capital gains losses been recorded and explained to the client?

  • What is the expected outcome from this years taxation return?

  • Have client bank account details been updated?

  • Note the amount of the refund or payable

  • Is the return being lodged on time with no risk of penalties?

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