DIY Tax Returns?

Jun 04, 2014

The ATO are proud to offer online Tax Software, allowing taxpayers to prepare and lodge their own tax returns, but BEWARE!

This may be fine for employees who own no investments, no rental property, or have absolutely no other source of income at all except wages.

However, a new client recently engaged me as his tax agent, after his DIY tax return was selected for audit. The client owned several investments. I will not be specific as to details (to protect identities), but I will tell you that most of the deductions he claimed have been disallowed. The client was not up to date with tax laws – I wouldn’t have expected him to be. I am paid to remain up to date with tax laws and the myriad of its changes.

The end result of this DIY return is this: the client (the taxpayer) needs to repay a substantial amount of the refund he received some months ago. Yes – the ATO paid the refund, then selected the return for audit. Now it demands repayment.

This not at all a good story, but it serves as a potential warning to DIY tax return preparers. Please think twice before preparing and lodging your own return online – especially where any ownership of any type of investment at all is at issue.


(Final note: you can find a list of registered tax agents at