Isabella Ross

It is that time of year again – tax! The coming months are known for brisk weather and the tedious task of lodging tax returns. Sydney Observer had the chance to sit down with Director of Tax Communications at H&R Block, Mark Chapman. Previously, Mark was a tax adviser for over 20 years, specialising in individual and small business tax, in both the UK and Australia. As well as operating his own private practice, Mark spent seven years as a Senior Director with the Australian Taxation Office. Mark is a Chartered Accountant, CPA and Chartered Tax Adviser and holds a Masters of Tax Law from the University of New South Wales.


Claim What You Are Entitled To:

“If you have spent something as part of your work, and you have the paperwork to prove it, claim it,” says Mark. Common deductions include the costs of using your own car for work, travelling for work and the cost of tools and equipment. A trusty tax accountant will be able to tell you exactly what you can and cannot claim, minimising the chances of an audit down the track. But make sure not to stretch the truth! “You can only claim what you’ve spent, so do not inflate deductions in order to get a bigger refund.”

Do Not Rely On ATO Pre-Filled Data:

You can pre-fill lots of your income information straight from the ATO’s systems. However Mark warns our readers not to assume that this income data is correct or complete. “Always use your own information as the key source data. Many third parties, such as banks, will not pass your information to the ATO until August so early lodgers will often find lots of data missing from their pre-fill.”

Get Trusted Guidance:

The consequence of making an error on your tax return falls back onto you, either with a lower refund or ATO penalties. H&R Block data has shown that 74% of Australians find it far less stressful to leave it to an agent to complete their return. This ensures an accurate and complete tax return. “An experienced agent will usually be good at sniffing out obscure tax deductions you did not know you could claim. Best of all, the tax agent’s fee is deductible.”


So to book an appointment with a tax agent or for more information, visit: