Money

Who have you been dealing with?

The lesson to be learned is to know who you are trusting with your financial affairs – it’s a big responsibility and one that can’t be taken lightly.
The lesson to be learned is to know who you are trusting with your financial affairs – it’s a big responsibility and one that can’t be taken lightly. Janie Kayes

EVERY now and then, I come across situations that contain so many lessons for so many people, and I am compelled to share one particular situation with you that arose last week. A potential new client approached me to help sort out her taxation affairs.

Obviously, confidentiality limits the amount of detail I can provide in this forum - but suffice to say, many years of income tax returns had not been lodged. Business records had been lost and the ATO was showing some interest.

My first question was, "Who the $%^& have you been dealing with?!"

This brings me to lesson 1 - who have you been dealing with?

This taxpayer had entrusted her financial affairs to someone who, as far as I can determine, has no standing with the ATO or professional body. This, of course, sounded some alarm bells for me, and subsequent events have reinforced my initial concerns.

Anybody offering taxation advice or assistance needs to be authorised by the ATO - if you are in any doubt, you can check by going to www.tpb.gov.au, where you will find a list of authorised tax agents (including Allan C Johnson!). 

Lesson 2 - Make sure your tax affairs are dealt with

With Australian tax laws being as complex as they are, I can understand how some taxpayers need to rely on the services of qualified professionals. However, there are simple things that can be done to make sure everything is up to date.

You should have in your records a copy of a Notice of Assessment for every tax return lodged, and requesting a copy of your income tax accounts from the ATO is also a reasonable precaution. Clearly in this case, the client allowed the situation to deteriorate for far too long before taking action. What would have been a nuisance is now a bit of a disaster!

Lesson 3 - Make sure you maintain your own records.

However you maintain records for your business (or even your personal affairs), you should make sure that you retain copies of records that are essential to explaining your tax affairs. Whether it is a backup of your computer files, Word documents etc., or photocopies of documents, maintaining these records in case they are needed is always a wise practice. In this case, supporting records are nowhere to be found - and you know what they say…the memory is the first thing to go!

The lesson to be learned is to know who you are trusting with your financial affairs - it's a big responsibility and one that can't be taken lightly! Always have a backup position and don't put your head in the sand when it comes to the taxation department. If your taxation affairs are falling behind, do something about it NOW before another financial year rolls around.

Topics:  allan johnson, ato, opinion, tax returns



Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at their 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony in Ballina.

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

More greyhound trainers in court on animal cruelty

Wood and brass judges gavel on a law book

Five greyhound trainers in court

Police call on gun owners to lock up, keep quiet

A 2008 model Toyota Prado stolen during a home invasion at Pine Mountain. Guns were also taken.

Crims targeting responsible gun owners

Latest deals and offers

Ipswich people love heritage

'It's a great vote of confidence for a program that was launched in 1992 and has since provided thousands of property owners with heritage conservation'


Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at their 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony in Ballina.

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at their 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony in Ballina.

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

Cryptic crosswords: Top clues to solving them

Your guide to solving the cryptic crosswords in your local paper

MOVIE REVIEW: Ben-Hur isn't likely to become a new classic

Toby Kebbell plays Messala Severus and Jack Huston plays Judah Ben-Hur in a scene from Ben-Hur.

ANYTHING less than grand in a remake of Ben-Hur won't do.

Coming up on your TVs this September...

Don't miss A Place to Call Home as season four launches this September.

HERE'S a sneak peek at what's coming up on Foxtel.

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale