The birds, the bees . . . and the ATO!?
05/04/2016 Bobbie Adams, Senior Accountant
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is all about sharing, caring and true love . . . oh didn’t you know? Now more than ever, lodging your tax returns has become a family affair.
Your relationship and family circumstance affects the calculation of the Medicare levy surcharge, private health insurance rebate and other government entitlements. Thus, reporting certain details about your spouse and dependents is now required. Below is some of the information that you may need to supply to the ATO as your relationship and family situation change.
What’s in a name?
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes . . . well, for the traditional amongst us, the joyous task of updating your name with numerous organisations. Never fear my friends, the fun isn’t over, the ATO also needs to be updated before your next tax return is lodged.
The quickest way to update your name with the ATO is over the phone. In order to do this you will need to have handy either your Australian marriage certificate or Australian change of name certificate.
If you would like assistance, you may provide a copy of your certificate to a member of The Hopkins Group accounting team who will be delighted to contact the ATO on your behalf.
Are you going steady?
If you had a spouse during the financial year, it is necessary to include in your tax return their name, date of birth, and dates for which they were your spouse if not the full year. You must also include your spouse’s taxable income, reportable fringe benefits, and child support your spouse paid (see the ATO website for full list).
So who actually qualifies as your spouse? The ATO defines your ‘spouse’ to include another person who you are in a relationship with that was registered under a state or territory law, or although not legally married to you, lived with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.
Blessed with a brand new bundle of joy? It is required that the number of dependent children you have during the financial year be reported in your tax return. If a new addition has arrived since you lodged you last tax return, you need to inform your accountant by providing them with the baby’s name and date of birth. This information allows the ATO to calculate the correct private health rebate amount you are eligible to receive, calculate the correct Medicare levy surcharge if applicable, and assess your eligibility for other entitlements which may benefit your family.
The ATO defines a ‘dependent child’ as your child who is under 21 years old, or 21 to 24 years old and a full-time student regardless of their income. The child must be an Australian resident and you must have contributed to their maintenance.
Equally important as adding the number of dependents to your return, it is also important that the number be reduced as children become adults and begin to support themselves. If your child has finished their education and become independent financially, it is important to let your accountant know this change has occurred so that the correct number of dependants continues to be reported.
If you would like to discuss any of the above information please don’t hesitate to contact one of our accountants at The Hopkins Group on 1300 726 082 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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