Record-keeping requirements for Australian investors
Whether you trade directly, or use the services of a financial advisor or robo-advisor, the person responsible for keeping up-to-date and accurate records of your shareholdings is you. And whether you complete your own return or work with an accountant or tax agent, the buck stops with you.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requires that1:
The records you must keep:
Your ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ statements – keep these records for 5 years from the date you dispose of your shares.
Your dividend statements – keep these records for 5 years from 31 October or, if you lodge later, for 5 years from the date you lodge your tax return.
You will receive most of the records you need to keep from:
- The company that issued the shares
- Your stockbroker or online share trading provider
- Your financial institution, if you took out a loan to buy the shares
1 To see the ATO’s full explanation of records you need to keep, see Shares: helping you to avoid common mistakes.
No matter how organised you are, that’s a lot of paperwork for you to manage and store, not to mention share with your tax agent at the end of the year. The good news is that Sharesight automates most day-to-day portfolio activities, and allows you to easily store and organise other portfolio-related data.
How Sharesight simplifies portfolio record-keeping
#1 – Everything in one place
To get started, simply sign-up for a Free Sharesight account and add your holdings. Sharesight will automatically backfill past dividends (and continues to add new ones as they are announced). From there, you can attach contract notes to trades, and attach dividend statements to their respective dividend records. This ensures that all your portfolio data is safely stored and organised in one place (instead of across your email, filing cabinet, shoe boxes, etc).
You can further automate this step by arranging for your broker to email contract notes to your portfolio. This allows your ongoing trades to be automatically recorded in real-time – with the appropriate contract note attached to each trade.
#2 – Complete dividends
While Sharesight automates dividends at the holding level, the Taxable Income Report allows you to view a running list of all the dividends you’ve ever received. You may run it over any period, and even download it as a .csv, .pdf, or Google Sheet.
#3 – Easy DRP tracking
As per the ATO, if you opt into a dividend reinvestment plan, “you must pay tax on your reinvested dividends. The amount of the dividend received will form part of the cost base of the shares you receive. Keep a record of your reinvested dividends to help you work out any capital gains or capital losses you make when you dispose of the shares.”
Sharesight’s dividend reinvestment feature allows you to activate a DRP for a particular holding and automatically track the reinvested dividends. Alternatively, you may manually reinvest a specific dividend, at the correct reinvestment price. Either way, you’ll have a complete record of all reinvested dividends, as well as their tax implications.
#4 – Secure sharing
Sharesight further simplifies portfolio admin by letting you easily share secure portfolio access with anyone you wish. So whether your accountant, spouse, or parent (thanks dad!) does your taxes, they’ll have everything they need in one place. No more paper chasing, overflowing shoeboxes, or lost email attachments.