Ernst & Young Top 5 Tax Return Tips

We appreciate that after you finish school, tax would be the furthest thing from your mind. However, as you prepare to enter into the workforce, you will need to begin considering what your income tax obligations are and how you will meet them.

Tip #1: Have you got a Tax File Number (TFN)?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) use a TFN to identify your tax records.

Without a TFN, the following will occur:
• Your employer will take 46.5%% of your wages in tax
• Financial institutions will be required to tax your interest at 46.5%%
• Centrelink will generally not pay you an allowance eg. Youth Allowance, Newstart or Austudy
• You’ll not be able to defer your higher education fees
• Your tax return or Australian business number (ABN) application may take longer to process
• It is more difficult for a tax accountant to look up your records and discuss them with you

To apply for a TFN, visit for more information.

Tip #2: Have you maintained your tax related documents?

Items that you should keep a record of include, but are not limited to:
• PAYG Payment Summary
• Interest income from your financial institution
• Work related expenses
• Gift and donations
• Private health insurance details
Generally you are required to maintain your tax records for five years.

Tip #3: How and where do you lodge a tax return?

The quickest and easiest way to lodge your tax return is on the internet via E-Tax. E-Tax can be downloaded from

After you have downloaded E-Tax, it is as simple as following the prompts.

Or if you prefer, you can also prepare and lodge you tax return in paper form. Paper forms can be obtained from your local post office and/or ordered from the ATO.


Tip # 4 – What deductions can you claim?

You can claim many expenses that relate to your work. However, to claim an expense, you must have spent the money and not have been reimbursed by your employer
• You generally cannot claim the following expenses associated with your work:

- Travel between your home and your workplace


- Expenses for a uniform consisting of conventional clothing like a black skirt and white shirt or blouse


- Self-education expenses where the course you are undertaking does not have sufficient connection to your current employment

If you are unsure about a certain deduction, then try the ATO website as there is plenty of guidance on what is and what isn’t deductible.

Tip #5 – Can you claim a deduction for your tertiary study expenses?

You are eligible for a deduction for each year you lodged a tax return if:

• You received Austudy, ABSTUDY or Youth Allowance to study and included the allowance as income in your tax return
• You incurred study expenses, and
• You did not claim a deduction for these expenses.

Study expenses you are able to claim include:

• Text books
• Home study expenses
• The decline in value of your computer (you can only claim the study-related proportion, not the proportion used for private purposes)


This communication provides general information which is current at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied on as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information. Ernst & Young disclaims all responsibility and liability (including, without limitation, for any direct or indirect or consequential costs, loss or damage or loss of profits) arising from anything done or omitted to be done by any party in reliance, whether wholly or partially, on any of the information. Any party that relies on the information does so at its own risk.

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