Tax Preparation Made Easy: A Quick Guide for Individual Taxpayers

Individuals tax return guide

Tax season can be a stressful time for many Australians. Whether you’re a full-time, part-time, or casual employee or earning income from investments, navigating the complexities of tax obligations can feel overwhelming. This guide offers essential insights into effective tax management, helping everyone from new earners to seasoned professionals ensure a smoother, more manageable tax season.

Understanding Income Tax: Individual Tax Rates Explained

In Australia, individuals pay tax on their income according to individual income tax rates. These rates are progressive, meaning that the rate increases as your income increases. Here’s a breakdown of the current individual income tax rates and thresholds:

2024 Income Year

Australian resident individual income tax rates 2023 – 24

Taxable Income Range (AUD)
Tax on this income
$0 – $18,200
$18,201 – $45,000
19c for each $1 over $18,200
$45,001 – $120,000
$5,092 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $45,000
$120,001 – $180,000
$29,467 plus 37c for each $1 over $120,000
Over $180,000
$51,667 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

Foreign Resident Individual Income Tax Rates 2023 – 24

Taxable Income Range (AUD)
Tax on this income
$0 – $120,000
32.5c for each $1
$120,001 – $180,000
$39,000 plus 37c for each $1 over $120,000
Over $180,000
$61,200 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

2025 Income Year

The following tables outline the marginal income tax rates and thresholds that apply for resident and foreign resident individuals under the revised stage three personal tax cuts from 1 July 2024 (i.e., in the 2025 income year).

Australian resident individual income tax rates 2024 – 25

Taxable Income Range (AUD)
Tax on this income
$0 – $18,200
$18,201 – $45,000
16c for each $1 over $18,200
$45,001 – $135,000
$4,288 plus 30c for each $1 over $45,000
$135,001 – $190,000
$31,288 plus 37c for each $1 over $135,000
Over $190,000
$51,638 plus 45c for each $1 over $190,000

Foreign Resident Individual Income Tax Rates 2024 – 25

Taxable Income Range (AUD)
Tax on this income
$0 – $135,000
30c for each $1
$135,001 – $190,000
$40,500 plus 37c for each $1 over $135,000
Over $190,000
$60,850 plus 45c for each $1 over $190,000

For more details, refer to the 2024-2025 Federal Budget.

The above rates do not include the Medicare levy.

This structure ensures that you are taxed based on your total income. Remember, these rates are subject to change, so it’s advisable to confirm current rates with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or your accountant.

Essential Due Dates for Individuals

Staying on top of tax deadlines is crucial for ensuring compliance and avoiding penalties. Here are the key tax dates for individual taxpayers:

31 October 2024:

Lodgement Deadline: This is the due date for individuals to lodge their tax returns for the 2023-2024 financial year if they are preparing and lodging their own return without a tax agent.

15 May 2025:

Tax Agent Deadline: If you use a registered tax agent, your lodgement deadline is extended to 15 May of the following year. This extension allows more time for tax agents to manage their clients’ returns.

21 July, 21 October, 21 January, and 21 April:

PAYG Instalments: Due date for quarterly pay-as-you-go (PAYG) instalments for individuals who pay their taxes in instalments throughout the year.

5 June 2025:

Late Lodgement for Non-Taxable Entities: For individuals or entities that had non-taxable or credit assessments in the previous year, the final lodgement date is extended to 5 June, provided all other criteria are met.

Missed Deadlines:

If you miss a deadline, you may be subject to fines and interest charges. It’s essential to lodge and pay on time or contact the ATO for extensions if you have valid reasons.


Ensure your super contributions are paid on time, especially if you manage an SMSF, to qualify for tax deductions and avoid penalties.

For more detailed information, you can visit the Australian Taxation Office’s due dates for lodging and paying page.

Record-Keeping: The Backbone of Tax Preparation

Effective record-keeping is essential for accurate tax filing and financial management. Here’s how to set up a robust system:

  • Documentation: Maintain detailed records of all income, including payslips, bank statements, and any other income sources. For example, a part-time teacher should keep track of all paychecks and any additional income from tutoring.
  • Receipts and Invoices: Keep all receipts and invoices related to work-related expenses. These could include uniforms, work-related travel, or any equipment purchased for your job.
  • Smartphone Apps for Receipt Management: Use apps like Receipt Bank by Dext and Expensify to digitise receipts and track expenses. These apps help categorise and store receipts, making them easily accessible for tax purposes. Additionally, the ATO app itself is a valuable resource, providing tools for recording deductions, tracking your superannuation, and even calculating the tax you owe.
  • Income from Foreign Investments: If you earn income from foreign investments, it is essential to keep detailed records of all foreign income and any foreign taxes paid. This income must be reported on your Australian tax return, and you may be eligible for a foreign income tax offset to prevent double taxation. Keeping comprehensive records will help in claiming these offsets correctly.
  • Capital Gains and Losses: Track all capital gains and losses meticulously, especially if you are buying and selling assets like shares or property. Accurate records of purchase and sale dates, costs, and any associated expenses are crucial for calculating capital gains tax (CGT) correctly. This is particularly important for investments that may have both domestic and international components.
  • Superannuation Contributions: Keep records of all superannuation contributions, whether they are employer contributions, salary sacrifice arrangements, or personal contributions. This helps in ensuring that you do not exceed contribution limits and can claim any applicable tax deductions or offsets.
  • Engaging a Bookkeeper or Financial Advisor: If you have substantial investments or high income from multiple sources, consider hiring a bookkeeper or financial advisor. They can help maintain orderly records, prepare financial statements, and ensure compliance with tax laws, freeing up your time to focus on your job and investments.

By maintaining thorough and organised records, you can simplify the tax filing process and ensure that you maximise your eligible deductions.

Specific Deductible Expenses for Individuals

Understanding which expenses are deductible can significantly reduce your taxable income and, consequently, your tax liability. Here’s a comprehensive list of common deductible expenses that individuals can often claim:

  • Work-Related Travel Expenses: Costs incurred for work-related travel, including mileage, fuel, public transport, and accommodation. Note: commuting between home and work is not deductible.
  • Vehicle Expenses: If you use your car for work purposes, you can claim running costs such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance. You can use either the logbook method or the cents per kilometre method to calculate these expenses.
  • Work Clothing and Laundry: Expenses for purchasing and laundering uniforms or protective clothing required for your job. You can also claim the cost of cleaning these items.
  • Home Office Expenses: If you work from home, you can claim a portion of home office expenses, including electricity, internet, and office supplies. The portion claimed should reflect the work-related use.
  • Self-Education Expenses: Costs related to courses and training that directly relate to your current job. This includes course fees, textbooks, stationery, and travel expenses to attend the courses.
  • Tools and Equipment: The cost of tools and equipment used for work purposes, such as laptops, smartphones, and other necessary devices. If the item costs more than $300, you need to depreciate the cost over several years.
  • Union Fees and Subscriptions: Union fees and professional membership subscriptions related to your work.
  • Investment and Income Protection Insurance: Premiums paid for income protection insurance policies that protect against the loss of income due to illness or injury.
  • Interest and Dividend Deductions: Interest paid on loans used to purchase investments that generate assessable income, as well as fees for investment advice and account-keeping fees for investment purposes.
  • Donations and Gifts: Donations of $2 or more to approved charitable organisations.
  • Tax Agent Fees: Costs incurred for preparing and lodging your tax return with a registered tax agent.
  • Rental Property Expenses: If you earn rental income, you can claim deductions for advertising for tenants, body corporate fees, council rates, insurance, interest on loans, land tax, maintenance and repairs, property agent fees, and travel expenses for property inspections.
  • Personal Super Contributions: Individuals can claim a tax deduction for personal super contributions made to their superannuation fund, provided they meet certain conditions. This is often relevant for self-employed people or those whose employers do not make sufficient super contributions.

If you have specific superannuation-related questions or need detailed advice on SMSF deductions, it’s always best to consult with a financial advisor or tax professionals like us.

Example Scenario: Tax Preparation for a Part-Time Worker with Investments

Let’s consider Alex, who works part-time as a graphic designer and also earns income from rental properties and stock investments.

Income Sources for the Financial Year:

  • Part-Time Work: $30,000
  • Rental Properties: $40,000
  • Stock Investments: $5,000

Deductible Expenses for the Financial Year:

  • Home Office Internet (40%): $480*
  • Property Maintenance: $5,000
  • Mortgage Interest: $10,000
  • Other Property Expenses (insurance, utilities): $3,000
  • Brokerage Fees: $500

Total Deductions: $18,980

Tax Calculation:

  • Total Income: $75,000
  • Taxable Income: $75,000 – $18,980 = $56,020

Tax Breakdown:

  • For the first $18,200: No tax.
  • From $18,201 to $45,000: Taxed at 19% = $5,092
  • From $45,001 to $56,020: Taxed at 32.5% = $3,581.50

Medicare Levy:

  • Medicare Levy (2% of $56,020): $56,020 * 0.02 = $1,120.40

Total Tax and Medicare Levy Payable:

  • Total Tax Payable: $5,092 + $3,581.50 = $8,673.50
  • Medicare Levy: $1,120.40
  • Total Payable: $8,673.50 + $1,120.40 = $9,793.90

* You can claim the percentage of your home office expenses as a tax deduction, provided you keep a log to determine the work-related usage.

Refer to the Tax Rates Tables above to view the tax rates that apply to your individual circumstances.


Alex’s taxable income after deductions is $56,020, resulting in a total tax payable of $8,673.50. Including the Medicare Levy, the total amount payable is $9,793.90. By accurately tracking his income and deductible expenses, Alex can minimise his tax burden effectively.

Maximising your tax return requires careful planning and attention to detail. Our team of chartered accountants brings extensive expertise and personalised service to help you navigate tax complexities effortlessly. From ensuring compliance to identifying valuable deductions, we provide the support you need for a successful tax season. Let us help you optimise your tax outcomes and provide peace of mind. Contact us today to see how we can assist you.

Please note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature, and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances.