Tax time is a stressful time for many people and there are a number of changes in the 2009 tax return they will need to be aware of as they plan their 2009 tax return.
H&R Block have prepared the following list to help taxpayers understand the changes, and make tax time less stressful.
1. Education tax offset
The Government has introduced a new tax offset for the 2009 tax return to help families pay for the costs of educating their primary and secondary school aged children. It also allows independent students under 25 years old who are undertaking primary or secondary school studies to claim a refund on some of their education expenses.
The refundable tax offset is:
- 50% of all eligible expenses up to $375.00 per child undertaking primary studies
- 50% of all eligible expenses up to $750.00 per child undertaking secondary studies
Note: There are some eligibility criteria and some expenses are excluded.
2. Family tax benefit
From 1 July 2009 you will no longer be able to claim Family Tax Benefit from the Tax Office and will have to lodge claims with the Family Assistance Office (FAO). This will mainly affect taxpayers who preferred to get their Family Tax Benefit payment as a lump sum rather than a fortnightly payment, they now must claim the lump sum from FAO through Centrelink.
3. First home saver accounts
From 1 October 2008, if you are eligible, you can open a first home saver account. The Government may make an annual contribution to your account based on the amount you have contributed to the account. You do not pay tax on earnings on the account. You do not need to declare income from this account anywhere on your tax return. If you are not required to lodge a tax return, you will need to lodge first home saver account – notification of eligibility.
4. HECS – HELP benefit
The Government has introduced a HECS-HELP benefit which is available to:
- mathematics and science graduates who completed their natural and physical science course in or after second semester 2008, and are employed in specified related occupations.
- early childhood education teachers who work in specified locations including regional or remote areas and Indigenous Australian communities or areas.
5. Medicare Levy Surcharge thresholds
The Medicare Levy Surcharge thresholds for the 2008-09 and later income years have been increased to $70,000 for a single person and $140,000 for families.
6. Same sex couples – death benefits dependant
For 2008-09 and later income years the definitions of spouse and child have been changed for the purposes of defining who is a death benefit’s dependant for employment termination payments and Australian Superannuation lump sum payments.
7. Small business and general business tax break
A small business and general business tax break for business in the form of an additional tax deduction is now available for new investments in eligible tangible depreciating assets. Conditions apply.
8. Certain Tax Offsets have a taxable income limit of $150,000
If your taxable income exceeds $150,000 then you can no longer claim the following tax offsets
- Spouse (without dependent child or student),
For further information visit the Australian Taxation Office website www.ato.gov.au
Source: H&R Block
H&R Block is the largest lodger of tax returns in Australia, with a network of more than 370 Company Owned and Franchised offices throughout Australia. For more information visit the website www.hrblock.com.au