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Now is the time for some lastminute money action


THE hours are ticking down for you to make the most of end-of-financial-year money moves that can pay you a handy windfall.

Tax, superannuation and investments are key areas where a lack of action this week can be costly, or at least delay a potential tax refund by a year or more. After Thursday, its simply too late.

Anyone planning to buy work-related items, from stationery to electronic equipment to home office furniture, should buy it in the next few days to bring the deduction into this financial year.

Home office expenses may be deductible if you run a business or work from home, BDO partner Shirley Schaefer says. Heating and energy are good examples, she says.

Last-minute moves for investors can include selling investments that have made a loss, which can be used to offset capital gains. Delay plans to sell profitable investments until July 1 to delay your capital gains tax bill.

However, watch out for end-of-year tax minimisation schemes, Schaefer says. Ensure the promoter has a product ruling and has been operating the scheme according to that ruling. Check that a Tax Office taxpayer alert has not been placed on the scheme if it has, steer clear.

My Budget director Tammy May says if your income is close to pushing you into a higher tax bracket, consider ways to defer income until next financial year.

Another option is to explore ways to reduce your income by, for example, bringing forward tax deductions from next year or prepaying investment interest on property or shares.

Prepaying income protection insurance which is tax deductible is worth a look, and real estate investors can also pay for things such as insurance and maintenance this week.

May says topping up superannuation can deliver tax deductions for some. Speak with your accountant or superannuation fund to understand how the rules apply to you, she says.

Self-employed people can generally claim these personal super deductions, but wage earners can only claim if their employment income accounts for less than 10 per cent of total income. These rules are set to be relaxed from July 2017.

Low and middle income earners can receive up to $500 of free money via the government co-contribution if they deposit some extra cash into their super.

Super contributions need to be made urgently, says Accounting and Taxation Advantage CEO Melissa Browne. The fund has to have received it and BPay can take a few days, she says.

Browne says research by Officeworks found that 35 per cent of people begrudge tax time and are slow to act, denying themselves potential money. You can whinge about it, or you can do something.

Lost receipts are no longer a barrier, Browne says, because online bank statements are good enough for the Tax Office.

Donations are another last-minute strategy that also feel good, she says, but make sure they are in the name of the family member in the highest income tax bracket to maximise the tax deduction. I see lots of donations made in joint names, when all should be in the highest income earners name.

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