I have a lot to thank my mother for, including some universal truths I can easily apply to my finances. You don’t need to be an accountant to get the most out of your budget and you certainly don’t need to be a tax expert to implement these tips in your life!
1. Get organised
If you’re on a budget, then make sure you stick to it! Do what my mum does and make a list of what you’ll need to buy for the next two weeks. And stick to the list! This way it will be easier to avoid impulse purchases. Organisation is also key when it comes to filing your tax return so you don't miss any important deadlines. Take note of all the key tax dates and deadlines, so you don’t miss filing dates and along with it your chance to claim a refund!
Free PDF guide to PAYE taxes in Ireland
2. Be tidy!
When I lived at home, my mum was constantly cleaning up after the rest of us. Even when I visit now, the mug of tea will be whipped off the table as soon as she gets a whiff that it has been abandoned. She cannot abide messiness, and although this hasn’t translated into all areas of my life, I always keep important receipts and personal documents in order, because you never know when you might need them!
You can go back four years to claim a refund in Ireland, so knowing where you kept the receipt for that wisdom tooth extraction surgery from 2 years ago is really helpful when it comes to claiming your tax back. Keep receipts for medical expenses and any other qualifying expenses tidily tucked away so you can find them easily for future reference. If you’re running your own business, this tip will be hugely helpful if it ever becomes the subject of an audit.
3. Don’t hide the evidence
Sometimes I would hide bad school report cards but my mum always had a way of finding them. It’s the same with your taxes! This is especially true if you run your own business and incur a lot of expenses. Make sure you document everything for Revenue-mileage, expenses, and any other documents as evidence of claims. If you’re running your own business, you should meet up with your accountant for a quarterly review to make sure everything is going smoothly and you’re on track!
4. Knowledge is power
Mum is always reading something and encouraged my studies in the realisation that being educated is a great way to get ahead in life. Knowing your tax obligations and rights are a great way to improve your finances. It’s always helpful to know what you can and can’t claim, with tax relief available on a range of expenses from laser-eye surgery to nursing-home care. It’s also good to know that you have four years to claim a refund and to make sure you file before it’s too late!
The average Irish tax refund is €1076.17
5. Keep Learning!
Your accumulation of knowledge shouldn’t stop when you leave school or college. Mum knows this, and even though she hadn’t sat an exam in about 20 years, she enrolled on a pretty hardcore course for mature students. Keeping up with trends and being up-to-date on new developments is important, because tax will affect you at every stage of your life-when you enter university, start a new job, get married, have children, etc.
So always be thankful for your Mother’s advice and don't forget to wish her a happy Mother’s Day!