✦ Do you get past June 30 and spend the duration of July waiting patiently for your accountant to send through their annual checklist (like it’s tax homework)? Do you ever stop and think that your accountant is actually sitting at their desk, waiting for YOU to instruct THEM?
When it comes to tax, we have so much a** about in the business game (#sorrynotsorry). And I see so many business owners miss valuable opportunities to both maximise and minimise their tax, all because they see it as a Christmas present they owe their accountant.
If you feel like EOFY is more of a mid-year get-together you’d rather skip out on, here are three things I need you to know to radically change - and improve - your approach to ‘tax time’.
Who is this all for?
Language is critical with this one - do you find yourself saying things like:
I have to reconcile *insert software here* for my accountant
I have to get all my receipts together for my accountant
I have to submit my Q4 BAS so I can finalise everything for my accountant.
I hate to break it to you: your tax return is not a gift for your accountant. (“Yay, you got me a shoebox of receipts… again.”) Not only that, this is the annual tax return for YOUR business.
This isn’t a chore - it’s a fantastic opportunity to dive deep into your numbers and measure your success, inspect your losses, and look for opportunities in the coming year. It should be a time to get curious about the inner workings of your enterprise; to take a pause from the daily doing and check in on your finances. Bring this attitude to your next meeting with your accountant and watch the energy in the room light up!
Stop putting the ATO first
Many business owners see tax time as being like a really crap Christmas.
It’s that magical time of year when we show the Tax Office everything we’ve achieved in the last 12 months, and they tell us if we’ve given them enough of the pie, or if we owe them some more.
If this is how you think about tax, you are missing the point BIG TIME.
For starters, there is no ‘tax time’ (that’s right, crap Christmas just got cancelled. You’re welcome!).
Tax strategy should be a component of your ongoing financial strategy. It should be showing up in your regular check-ins with your numbers throughout the year, as there are opportunities to minimise tax liability across the calendar.
So don’t spend another year realising you did too little, too late.
Make it all about you
You have my permission to indulge in some business self-care this time of year and make it all about you. Seriously. Your accountant is there to ensure you are compliant with the ATO requirements relating to your business. But they shouldn’t be driving this project - YOU SHOULD.
This annual milestone is your reminder to look at the big picture in where your business has been, as well as where it should be heading. Realign with your vision. Map out the coming years. Clarify what’s really important, and ensure your tax plan supports that goal. (Because believe it or not, it can!)