“What can I claim on my tax return?” – is one of the most common questions we get asked as tax accountants. So we thought we’d share a few commonly misunderstood or missed deductions that you may have forgotten about!
1. Home Office Allowance
If you thought working in the comfort of your own home, wearing your pyjamas, and sipping that coffee that didn’t (Or did…) cost you $6 from your local coffee shop was living the life, then think again! Because it can get a whole lot better! Did you know that you can claim a standard home office allowance for hours worked from home? This is available to employees regularly working from home, student studying from home, or if your operate business whilst home. You can claim this deduction if you’re renting or if you’re a home owner (without affecting capital gains tax!)
Need a New Years Resolution? Consider donating more! Not only will the organisation thank you, but your tax return will thank you for your saint-like actions by making you able to claim donations of more than $2! Keep in mind, the donation can’t be for lottery tickets (like the MS Home Lottery!) and must be made to a registered charity. Check the DGR list here
3. Work Tools
If you’re working outdoors you can claim protective items like sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, hi vis etc. – no more excuses for getting sunburnt! If your place of work requires special equipment in order to do your work, then you can most likely claim that too! And so ladies, make sure your foundation has SPF in it and you keep those valuable receipts.
There’s a few different travel scenarios you may be able to claim the your kilometres on! It’s important to keep a logbook of these so you have this information saved when it comes to tax time. Even if you don’t have a logbook, you still need to be able to justify how you calculated the KMs you claimed on your return. Have a look back through your online diary to check for what meetings you have attended.
A) Travelling to an alternate place of work. Like business meetings in an off-site location, or if you work from a client’s office instead of your usual place of work.
B) If you’re working two jobs at the same time you can claim the KMs travelled between jobs. (Dang, 2 jobs? You a hustler homie!)
C) You can claim your travel kilometres from work to your place of education or study. Rack up those library KMs!
5. Claiming your super contributions
If you’re self-employed, you can claim your super contributions! This deduction is capped around $25k per year. That’s saving money for your retirement, while you save money from your tax return, from saving money for your retirement! Double whammy!
6. Men, claim those briefcases. Ladies, claim those work handbags!
Get your galpals together for a shopping trip! The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has confirmed that handbags used for work can be tax deductible. It’s not quite the shopping trip we yearn for, but hey, shopping is shopping right? Be sure to keep a logbook of work contents carried in the bag as evidence of your business vs personal use. Best to limit your spending $300 though, because anything above that will require the deduction to be depreciated over the life of the bag.
If your place of work requires you to purchase equipment in order to do your job, than you can claim that too. As long as your employer does not reimburse you! Keep in mind any items over $300 will need to be depreciated over the life of the item.
7. Internet and phone bills!
If you study or work from home and use your internet to clock in those extra study, work or biz hours, then you can claim the work related or business use of your internet bill as a deduction. This same theory applies if you are making work related phone calls on your mobile. Keep in mind, no one’s personal mobile can be claimed as 100% business use, unless you have 2 phones!
8. Coffee Catchups with Clients
If you have clients and have business meetings with them – and happen to buy them coffee, you could claim this! (Keep that receipt!) It’s not only an appreciated gesture that will sure earn you some client brownie points, but you can claim it off your tax! Think of it like paying rent for a temporary meeting space. – and to save yourself time, get them uploaded into your accounting system ASAP.
9. Dry Cleaning & Laundry
If you are require to wear a uniform for work, you might be able to claim on any dry cleaning or laundry expenses. Even if you don’t do it all the time – that $50 one off for full dry cleaning of your uniforms may be able to be included – Why do I keep saying *might*?? Cuz you need to keep your receipts as evidence! Written evidence for your laundry expenses, such as diary entries and receipts must be kept if both the amount of your claim is greater than $150, and your total claim for work-related expenses exceeds $300.
BONUS! #10 Use Technology to Save your Records
When you spend money for work or business, have an online system in place to make it easy to store photos of your receipts. One Drive, Google Drive, hard drive…just be sure to make back ups as you need to keep your receipts for 5 years after submitting your tax return!