Experts make last calls on EOFY savings

Have Australians done enough to maximise their tax returns?
Have Australians done enough to maximise their tax returns?

It's tax time already, but have workers and business owners done enough to maximise their returns? And if not, is it too late?

Finalising one's tax is no simple task following a year punctuated by COVID-19 and the extra allowances and subsidies involved, senior advisor Keith Madden from member-owned Business Australia said.

For those still in work-from-home mode, there's the ATO's 'home claim shortcut', extended through to June 30. Getting it right is worth $1664 in potential deductions, Mr Madden said.

Then there are decisions to be made around topping up superannuation accounts to reduce taxable income or, for those lucky enough to have a real estate investment, pre-paying property-related expenses.

Of the latter, there are four which can add up to thousands of dollars in deductions, BMT Tax Depreciation's Bradley Beer said: loan interest, the cost of a tax depreciation schedule, strata fees and insurance.

There are savings too for Australia's more than two million small business owners, Mr Madden said. With some temporary programs finishing up, the 2021 end of financial year looms as critical.

"Some of the items small businesses might want to consider this year include salary sacrificing, asset write-offs and bad debts," he told AAP.

It's important for small-to-medium businesses to note that the instant asset-write off scheme, at least in its existing form, is ending, Mr Madden cautioned.

It applies to assets up to $150,000 purchased between March 12, 2020 and the end of 2020 and installed ready for use before Wednesday.

However the scheme is set to revert back to assets up to $30,000 for businesses with turnover of less than $50 million.

"There are a number of changes and concessions available to business owners as part of the broader economic recovery package provided by government but only a small window to take advantage of them," according to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand's Susan Franks.

"Delaying tax affairs could cost small businesses significant cashflow this year, when they may need it most."

In the same vein although not tax related, Victorian small and medium businesses with a confirmed or suspected COVID case that required deep cleaning can until June 30 claim up to an 80 per cent rebate on the cost from the state government.

The end of financial year is also a crucial time for households considering switching energy providers and individuals mulling the implications of private health insurance options.

Electricity prices change on 1 July in NSW, Queensland's southeast, SA, WA and sometimes Victoria, consumer network One Big Switch has confirmed.

That means the best current deals on the market - which could be up to $557 per dwelling lower than government reference prices - will be replaced by the unknown.

One Big Switch recommends households lock in a cheap deal with no exit fee that lasts for 12 months. If it's bettered in July, there's the option to switch again given there's no cost.

June is also the deadline for getting health insurance sorted in order to avoid taxes and penalties that kick in each year.

On the flipside, it's also a key date for those who want to access a tax-time windfall because they've earnt less this financial year, or recently turned 65 or 70 and are entitled to a larger government rebate.

Some current offers include four to six weeks free or up to $400 cashback for new customers.

Australian Associated Press