Getting ready for tax time.

5 minutes
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When it comes to getting ready for tax time, a little organisation goes a long way. If you've sorted and stored your paperwork, tax time will be much easier and quicker. The amount of tax you’re required to pay is calculated on your taxable income, which is the total income you earn less any eligible deductions, and you’ll need to keep records of both to validate your tax return.

Any income you receive from employment, pensions, government payments, investments, trust fund distributions, business profits, and capital gains is part of your taxable income. However, amounts you receive from lottery wins, gifts, child support and some other government payments, are not normally included in most people’s taxable income.

Your income can be validated by:

  • Payment summaries from your employer and any other paperwork showing your salary, benefits and allowances.
  • Summaries of benefits received from Centrelink or Veterans Affairs
  • Statements showing any dividends or investment income you've received, and
  • Bank statements showing any interest you earned on your bank accounts.

Eligible tax-deductible expenses may be things such as:

  • Motor vehicle expenses if your vehicle is used for work purposes. This may include fuel, insurance, registration, green slip, repairs and maintenance, roadside assistance and interest costs or lease payments. Maintain a log book and as well as your receipts if you wish to claim these expenses.
  • Work travel expenses like airfares, accommodation, tolls, parking fees and luggage.
  • Self-education costs related to your work, like text books, course fees, stationery, photocopying, student union fees and travel.
  • Work uniform costs, including dry cleaning and home laundry costs for those uniforms.
  • Donations to eligible charities
  • Investment related expenses may include interest costs, management and maintenance costs.
  • Other expenses related to your work, like Union fees, home office expenses, mobile phone, internet, computer hardware, computer software, seminar and course fees, subscriptions to associations, organisers, briefcase, electrical and photographic equipment.
  • Fees for obtaining tax advice and for preparing your tax return.

This list is not exhaustive but may help you get started.

Another important consideration in the lead-up to tax time is maximising your superannuation, also known as super, contributions.

There are a number of benefits from investing in your superannuation. To make the most of these benefits though you should understand the different types of super contributions and be aware of the limits that exist on how much you can contribute to super each financial year.

The two types of contributions are Concessional Contributions and Non-concessional Contributions.

Concessional contributions are those made from your pre-tax income, such as your employer super guarantee contributions, salary-sacrificed amounts, and self-employed personal (deductible) contributions. These contributions are taxed at the rate of 15% instead of your personal marginal tax rate.

Non-concessional contributions are personal super contributions which you have made from your after-tax income or a transfer of assets (such as shares).

There are caps for the amount of contributions of both types that you can make. The table below shows the contribution caps that apply to both concessional and non-concessional contributions for the 2022-23 year. It also includes details of the extra tax that would apply to any amounts that exceed the cap. It’s important that you stay within the limits.


Concessional cap

Non-concessional cap


$27,500 p.a.

$110,000 p.a. 

What if I exceed the cap?

The excess contributions are added to your taxable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate, with a 15% tax offset for contributions tax already paid by the superfund.

You may elect to withdraw up to 85% of your excess contributions to help pay the tax liability. Any concessional contributions in excess of the cap that are not withdrawn will also count towards your non-concessional cap.

Find out more from the ATO.

There are 2 options.

1. You may elect to release both the excess contributions and 85% of the associated earnings, 100% of the associated earnings would then be taxed at your marginal tax rate (inc. Medicare levy), with a 15% tax offset for contributions tax already paid by the superfund.

2. You may elect to leave the excess contributions and associated earnings in your super and pay 47% tax (via the superfund) on the excess non-concessional contributions.

Find out more from the ATO.

Important information

Your cap may be higher if you did not use the full amount of your cap in earlier years. This is called the carry forward of unused concessional contributions.

Find out more from the ATO

Your personal non-concessional contributions cap may be different if you are eligible for bring-forward arrangements or if your  total super balance is greater than or equal to the general balance transfer cap.

Find out more from the ATO.

It’s worth considering how much of both caps are available to you to contribute to your superfund. Currently, the employer super guarantee contribution is 11.0% pa, so if you’re earning about $80,000 a year then your employer is contributing approximately $8,800 to your super meaning there is still a gap of roughly $18,700 that you could consider salary-sacrificing.

We encourage you to talk to your tax adviser or financial planner for more information on how to prepare for the end of the financial year. Planning well ahead of your tax return is a great strategy to ensure you’re well prepared to both maximise your return, and possibly receive your refund sooner than later.


This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. © Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.

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Bronwyn Lawson

As a Financial Wellbeing Advocate with Westpac's Davidson Institute, Bronwyn Lawson draws on her diverse history in banking and finance. Since making the transition from banking to education 15 years ago, Bronwyn has delivered face to face workshops to business owners across the country, and helped people from all walks of life to enhance their financial knowledge. Bronwyn's most grateful for the time she spent in a number of Pacific Island nations helping educate and empower people, particularly women, to take control of their money and build better futures for themselves and their families.

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