What we think?

  • Kairi Kaljo

Updated: Jul 19

With EOFY closing in, tax return becomes a topic once again in everyone’s minds.

Tax year in Australia starts on my birthday. That’s right, on July 1st, and finishes on June 30.

I must say, to date it’s been pretty exciting for me. In my 7 years in Australia, I have always got something back from a tax man. It may not be the case this year but hopefully with the help of a good tax agent, I see some pocket money going back into my account.

Living in the UK, tax return was not a common thing. Tax return was not obligatory if you were a paid employee. Obviously, this was different for those having their own business and working for themselves.

I am sure you already know that in order to maximise the return and minimise the tax you are liable for, you need to keep copies of all receipts/invoices related to any expenses

occurred during the current tax year. Remember, tax man can come knocking on your door asking for a proof of purchases any time he wants to look into more detail. Even better if you have worked out some sort of filing system or downloaded an app to record all your receipts. Check out your bank app on your mobile phone as nowadays bank apps have a functionality to scan receipts.

Now let’s see in more detail what type of expenses you can claim in your tax return

Self-employed and a small business owner

Regardless what business you are in, below is the list of things you can claim in definite.

· Mobile phone bill

· Internet bill

· Any subscriptions/professional memberships

· Any software expenses

· Equipment purchased including phone, computer, tablet, earphones, hard drive, camera, printer plus any equipment related to your field of business i.e tools and protective clothing, packaging, raw materials for production and more

· Stationary

· Training costs/conference fees

· Business travel costs (hotel and flights associated to any business trips)

· Books, collateral purchased for your business


· Any costs occurred using your mobile phone for work

· Costs occurred using your home internet for work

· Any software/hardware purchased required to do your work

· Protective clothing and footwear/uniform related costs including laundry and dry cleaning

· Professional memberships associated to your profession and trade certificates

· Training costs not covered by an employer

· Work travel costs (that does not include traveling to and from work but travel to conferences, training, work trips)

· Any collateral and books bought relevant to your job

· Bags such as laptop bag, handbag used for work

· Sunscreen for those working outdoors

· Sunglasses for those working outdoors

In financial year 2019/20, if you have been working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, all working from home costs can also be calculated by multiplying hours you have worked from home between 1st March and 30th June with 80 cents (per hour) which will provide you with a figure for tax deductible work from home expenses. If you have been claiming either job keeper or job seeker payments, your accountant can assist you with more information on what needs to be included in your tax return.

Please note that this year employers are no longer required to issue end of year payment summary to its employees. Instead, employees will be able to view their tax and super information by logging into their MyGov account and accessing ATO online services.

When you log into your MyGov account, make sure ATO is linked to your MyGov profile. If not, you first need to follow the steps to link ATO services to your account. Please have your TFN handy when doing it. Also for verification purposes, ATO may ask you details from last year’s PAYG i.e gross salary, or your bank account number and/or super balance.

Once you have linked ATO services page to your MyGov account, you can view your employment details and tax details under “View My Income Statements”. Your accountant should also be able to access your tax information without you printing off any details, however in case you are visiting them first time, you may wish to print off your tax summary just in case.

Also, a thing to note before you now rush off to scheduling your tax appointment- Tax agents/accountants will be flat out come 1st July so you may wish to book in your appointment toward end of July or later, just to give them a bit of a breathing space.

In my working life I have met different types of managers. Those who support their staff and want only the best for their crew and those who have to have their fingers in each pie and control everything that goes on in the company. Needless to say, those who guide and lead their staff and trust them to get their work done, are the ones, who are always admired and remembered. They are the ones who inspire us on our journey throughout our careers. Those who want to know what you did every minute of the day are forgotten as soon as you walk out of the door or should I say run out of the door.

My recent experience with a micromanager saw me having a meeting with a manager in the morning where we discussed my task list and two hours after the meeting, she sent me a long email on what I needed to do. I mean, we just met two hours ago and went through a list of things and it probably took her half an hour to write that email and for me to answer so I really saw no point in that other than wanting to show who was in charge and make me doubt if I knew what I was doing. We had already discussed everything so the email was a bit excessive and waste of everyone’s time.

Every time I come face to face with a manager who is a micromanager, I wonder what has gone on in their lives to behave like that? The other question that pops into my mind - do they like to be controlled themselves?

[i]Micromanagement is a compulsive, behavioural disorder similar to other addictive patterns. People who micromanage, generally do so because they feel unsure and self-doubting. Micromanagers, like many addicts, are the last people to recognise that they are hooked on trolling others.

Often they fear competition from their colleagues and staff who are smart, talented and more knowledgeable and therefore hire people who they can model into someone who will only take direction from them. That gives micromanagers power and makes them feel more confident and in control of everything.

Micromanagers are known to wanting to see your detailed task lists and regular updates. They require every decision to be run past them and every document to be approved and they want to know where you are every minute of your working day. Micromanagers send frequent emails and hold many unnecessary meetings. They often take credit for anything positive that has come out of the team but blame individuals if things do not go so well. Micromanagers find hard to trust people deliver work on time and to their standards so they often interfere with the process and therefore create extra work that is really not necessary.

Many of us have worked with a micromanager at some point in our lives and know how damaging this can be for one’s productivity and morale. Staff want to be part of the company, they want to make contributions that they get credit for, they want to feel empowered and guided and have an opportunity to learn, not be afraid and question their own actions all the time. Under a micromanager, one can never succeed. Eventually one feels like a puppet whose strings are controlled and the need to cut themselves loose to find a workplace where they are valued and supported.

When I attend a job interview, one of my questions to the hiring manager is asking them to describe what kind of managers they are. Obviously, no one will tell me the truth but that does not stop me from trying. What I am looking for in a manager or even when I work with the manager as my client, is someone who hires talented and smart people. People who they trust will do a great job. And if they do not trust their staff is competent enough, they should not have them in their company. There is no need to hire staff you don’t trust and therefore need to control. Afterall, the business is always growing and if you have smart people who support you, your business will be thriving. If you hire people who need constant hand holding because you do not trust they are capable of performing their roles, you struggle to succeed as a manager.

Employees nowadays want a boss they can trust, someone who listens to them and praises them when they do well and provides guidance or gives subtle directions when they lose track. Great manager wants to see their staff go far and he/she helps them to get there. In return he/she knows the staff will have its back and work hard to meet the goals set for the company and the manager.

Do you have tendencies to control too much how your staff or your team is working? Do you have a problem letting things go and trusting people? Please do us all a favour and calm down. Keep your eye on your goals. Have weekly, monthly catch ups with your employees or your partners and communicate well what your expectations are. If your staff gets stuck, give them some of your time to provide them with solutions and guidance. When you get praised for doing a great job, share the win with your team, when you get blamed for not doing the good job, have a chat with your team and find a way to collegially improve things. Always be grateful and thank your staff and/or your partners. That way they feel rewarded and want to do even better. Be a leader to whom your staff look up to!

[i] http://homepages.se.edu/cvonbergen/files/2012/12/The-Micromanagement-Disease_Symptoms-Diagnosis-and-Cure.pdf

Updated: Jul 19

Whether you are self employed working from home on regular basis or working from home full time due to the current covid-19 pandemic, below tips are useful to keep in mind for anyone.

Set up your work station

In order to get some work done without any distractions, you need a dedicated corner or a work space. Make sure it has been set up ergonomically and that it is free from any hazards such as any electrical cords and extension leads that you may trip over.

I work from my spare room which we can turn into a bedroom when guests come over to stay. However, not everyone has a spare bedroom/office, which makes focusing on work and separating your work life from your personal life a little bit harder.

Create yourself a routine

Start by waking up at same time during the working week. Remember, the earlier you wake up, the more you get done. Set yourself a schedule for breaks throughout the day and for a lunch and try sticking to them. Finish work at same time. Even better if you can shut the door to your work space and switch your mind frame from work to home.

Dress up

One good thing about working from home is not having to wear the typical office attire which doesn't necesarily mean you should stay in your PJ-s whole day. Putting on some clothes what you would normally wear outside the house, makes you feel like you are going somewhere and gets you into the work mind frame. My work attire is jeans and a white tee :)

Obviously, if your role requires you to wear a shirt and a tie or a suit even, you don't have much choice.

Being a woman, I also tend to put on some light make up. When I know I have virtual meetings throughout the day, I feel better having my face on. Not everyone likes wearing make up though and some never do. That is fine- whatever works for you.

Don't forget to exercise

It is important to look after both your mental and physical health. Without the daily commute, the chances are, you are nowhere near your ten thousand steps a day goal. More likely three thousand if you're lucky. That's why it's important we move around and take breaks throughout the day.

Personally, I like going for a run or do a pilates session after work. I also like to take my dog out for a walk- always a reason to get out of the house.

And don't forget......when you need an instant mood lift, put on some music and perhaps even dance :)

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