Surprising Things You Can Claim At Tax Time
Did you know that you can deduct a number of things on your tax return in Australia that may surprise you? You may be eligible for a tax return, for instance, if you have recently made modifications to your property or if you have recently incurred medical expenses.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to devote some of your time to become familiar with the list of available deductions and to ensuring that you are claiming everything to which you are entitled. Before you send in your return, you should always double-check with the Australian Tax Office to ensure that you haven’t missed any deductions that may be available to you due to the fact that your eligibility for particular deductions may differ based on the specifics of your situation.
Did you realize that the Australian tax system allows you to deduct an unexpectedly large number of expenses and other types of payments? This includes things like your work-related car expenses, the cost of maintaining tools and equipment for your employees, and even the cost of union or professional fees if you belong to either. Therefore, if you are hoping to receive some additional money from the tax collector this year, it is imperative that you look over the complete list of things that are qualified for a deduction.
At tax season, taxpayers have the opportunity to take advantage of a wide variety of deductions and credits, which is one of the many positive aspects of this time of year. This may enable you to get a tax refund or minimize the amount of tax that you are required to pay. On the other hand, there are a few deductions and credits that could catch you by surprise. Here are four unexpected deductions you might be able to make while filing your taxes in Australia.
Surprising Tax Deductions That May Be Available to You
As the deadline for filing your taxes draws near, you should make it a priority to start collecting your receipts so that you can verify that you are eligible for any deductions.
As a general rule, you have the right to file a claim if you have to pay for something related to your job but your employer does not pay for it or reimburse you for it.
Be wary of standard deductions if you don’t have anything to support them, such as the $300 of work-related expenses, the $200 of minor products, and the $150 of laundry charges. While most individuals are aware of the traditional claims, you should exercise caution when claiming standard deductions.
If you choose to make a claim for them, you should be prepared to discuss with the ATO how you actually put the money to use.
The Australian Taxation Office has issued a warning that it will be on the lookout for anyone attempting to maintain or increase claims for things like automobile, travel, or clothing expenses while also maintaining or increasing claims for substantial working-from-home expenses.
However, even among these common assertions, there are certain little-known rules that people might employ to their benefit.
You may have the option of spreading the deduction for your charitable donations over a period of five years via an election. Although the majority of people are aware that they are eligible to receive tax deductions for their contributions to charitable organizations, it is less common knowledge that you may have this option.
There are numerous things that you are entitled to claim if you are working in one of the five most common occupations in Australia.
Here is how you may maximize the amount of money that you get back from your taxes.
Both Medical and Social Care
If you have a job that requires you to wear a uniform, the money you spend on it is tax-deductible, but the deductions don’t stop there.
You are able to deduct the cost of clothing that you wear at work to prevent your regular clothes from becoming soiled or damaged, such as lab coats and aprons, and you can also claim a deduction for the cost of the garment itself.
You are also allowed to submit a claim for the money spent on COVID-19 protective equipment, such as antibacterial hand wash, face masks, and hand sanitiser.
Protective apparel, including shoes with non-slip soles, can also be deducted from your taxes.
There are a lot of ways to make money off of the epidemic if you were fortunate enough to attend a conference during it.
That can include the cost of transport, meals, and housing as well as the cost of the conference itself, even if it is held in a foreign country; however, you may need to divide the costs and disallow the private portion if you spend some time relaxing on the beach after the the conference.
Professional subscriptions can be claimed, regardless of whether they are paid to an organization such as the Australian Medical Association or to a labour union.
The good news is that if you’ve put in long hours and worked overtime, you can submit a claim for the money you spent on food, provided that your employer hasn’t given you an allowance for your hard work.
Those who obtain their employment through an agency are also eligible to make a claim for the expense.
As part of their jobs, many people who work in healthcare will have to drive their own vehicles. This can entail transferring patients, travelling between the homes of patients, or travelling from one medical institution to another; all of these types of excursions have the potential to be reimbursed.
The morality of donning a uniform can be questionable, depending on the kind of store in which you are employed.
If you wear regular clothes, the cost of those clothes is not tax-deductible. Although certain retail workers in fashion stores are forced to wear clothing from the particular store or brand they are employed by, those garments are still considered to be traditional apparel, and hence there is no deduction that can be taken for them.
Deductions can be claimed for work-related courses, such as those dealing with health and safety or first aid, management training, or job-related courses such as a Certificate III in retail. These types of courses may also involve management training.
If your job requires you to travel between different stores, you may be eligible to receive reimbursement for the costs of travel between different work locations.
This could include any time you spend working temporarily from a different shop to your regular employment – for example, if you were covering for someone else while they were on vacation – as well as any travels you take between stores to deliver products.
Workers in the Professional and Administrative Ranks
If you require a purse or briefcase for work-related reasons, such as transporting files or a laptop, you are allowed to deduct the cost of purchasing one from your taxable income.
Caution is advised, however, because the ATO may question whether a Gucci handbag is truly necessary for the performance of your job duties.
However, you should not believe that your suits and other items of business attire qualify for a deduction because this benefit is much more particular to professionals.
The robes and wigs that barristers wear in court as part of their professional attire are tax-deductible. Barristers can also deduct the cost of their annual practising certificates and professional indemnity insurance.
If your job requires you to travel, you may be able to deduct some or all of the expenditures associated with those trips, including those associated with visiting clients or suppliers.
If you drive your own vehicle for work, you have the option of filing a claim for 72 cents per kilometre, up to a limit of 5,000 kilometres or keeping a logbook and filing a claim for your real expenses. If you don’t use your car, you may be eligible for reimbursement for parking fees, tolls, and even public transportation costs.
Unfortunately, the expense of providing clients with entertainment is not deductible from their taxes.
Even if you utilize your membership to network and meet clients, you are unable to deduct the expense of club fees, such as those required to join the local golf or tennis club.
Employees in the Fields of Education And Training
Fees paid annually to register as a teacher can be deducted, as can the cost of reference materials or membership to a professional library relevant to the subject matter that you instruct.
The prizes that you buy to recognize the accomplishments of your pupils and to motivate them to do better in the future are eligible for reimbursement.
Stationery, art supplies, stopwatches, and computer consumables such as pens and toner cartridges are all deductible expenses. Also deductible is charitable contributions.
Don’t forget that the depreciation on any piece of technology that costs more than $300, such as a computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, or printer, is deductible. This applies both to items that cost less than $300, which can be written off immediately, and to items that cost more than $300, which must be depreciated over time.
You are allowed to make a claim for expenses related to conferences and courses that are connected to your teaching. These costs can include things like travel and textbooks, and it is also a good idea to include your preparation work.
If you correct students’ homework or prepare lessons while at home, you may be eligible to claim home office expenses. These expenses include a portion of the costs associated with any technology you use, including computers, printers, and the internet, as well as a portion of the costs associated with the utility bills.
The costs of school excursions, such as sporting or camping trips that you pay for out of your own pocket and are not reimbursed for are eligible for reimbursement if you file a claim. This can cover the expense of lodging, as well as meals and transportation.
Construction Laborers And Those Working in Manufacturing
You are eligible for an instant deduction of up to $300 of the cost of any tools or other work-related equipment that you are needed to acquire for your job. This deduction applies to any tools that cost more than $300.
Anything that costs more than that needs to be written off as an expense over the course of the tool’s useful life.
You can deduct from your taxable income the cost of insuring your tools as well as the interest you paid on any financing you took out to purchase your tools and equipment.
If you are compelled to wear a uniform for your job in construction or manufacturing, the good news is that you can deduct the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining that uniform if you do so. On it is embroidered the logo of the company.
Normal pieces of clothes, such as a basic khaki shirt, that you could wear at another job or outside of work do not qualify as uniform attire.
A khaki shirt with your employer’s name printed on it would meet the requirements. It is possible to submit a claim for reimbursement of the money spent on protective gear like helmets, ear muffs, safety goggles, sunglasses, sun caps, and sunscreen.
You are eligible to make a claim for such expenses if you are a member of the labor union, and you are also eligible to make a claim for the cost of renewing any professional licenses, registrations, or subscriptions.
The expenses you incur to further your education through programs offered by a university or TAFE, such as an apprenticeship program at a technical college, can be deducted as long as the program is relevant to the work you do now.
In the event that you are eligible for an allowance under an industrial law, award, or agreement, you are able to make a claim for meal expenditures related to overtime work up to the amount that you actually spent.
Surprising Examples of Expenses That Can Be Deducted From Your Taxes
You will want to get the most money possible out of your tax return, regardless of whether this is your first time filing taxes or whether you are a brand-new employee who is reaching the end of the fiscal year. It will be easier for you to accomplish this goal if you are aware of all the work-related expenses that qualify for tax deductions.
The following is a list of deductible expenses, some of which you may not have considered.
Things That Will Help Your Career Advancement That You Should Know
You can put on the claimable list any books or subscriptions that you’ve bought specifically for the purpose of conducting research for your job. In a similar vein, if you want to join a union or a professional body that backs your line of work, the fees associated with doing so are also eligible for reimbursement.
There is also the possibility of submitting claims for items such as self-education, seminars, and several other types of training courses. Even if this is a fantastic way to improve one’s employability, it does not grant one the right to pursue courses of personal interest and seek a tax break for doing so.
The general rule is that the course should be relevant to your current occupation, and you should consider whether or not it will raise the likelihood that you will earn more money in that occupation.
If you are currently working as a painter and decide to take a course to become certified as a yoga instructor, the cost of that yoga course won’t be tax-deductible until such time as you begin working in a field that is directly related to yoga.
Income Protection Insurance
Be careful to include income protection insurance in your tax return if you have a policy with a private insurer that is not associated with a super fund. This type of insurance protects your earnings and is purchased separately from super funds.
Personal premiums for income protection that have been paid out of pocket are eligible for reimbursement in any fiscal year in which they have been paid or incurred. You are eligible to take a tax deduction equal to the total amount of the premiums you have paid, regardless of whether or not you have been earning an income.
Keep in mind, however, that if you are unable to work because of a sickness or injury and do make a claim through your income protection insurance at any point in the financial year, the benefit amount is recognized as taxable income. This applies even if you make a claim at the beginning of the year. Therefore, you need to make sure that your return reflects it in the appropriate manner.
No matter where the money is coming from, you should never hesitate to inquire about the possibility of having taxes withheld on your behalf. Be aware that the benefits you receive from filing a claim under a policy will not be exempt from taxation if you are receiving them.
Car-Related Costs When Travelling For Work
Even though you can’t deduct the time spent driving to and from work, there are still a few things you may do to get some of the money back that you’ve already spent on your wheels if you use them for work in some other capacity.
Imagine that one of your responsibilities as an employee is to drive to several different sites throughout the course of the workday. Perhaps you are a salesperson, or you have meetings with clients. If this is the case, you need to think about how far you drive in a year and choose between the logbook technique and the cents-per-kilometre method to determine how much you are entitled to receive for your claim.
Because the cents-per-kilometre method is limited to claiming a maximum of 5,000 kilometres of travel, the logbook method is often more suited when you are travelling more than 5,000 kilometres per year for your employment.
You are unable to make a claim for depreciation using the cents-per-kilometre technique, but you are able to make a claim using the logbook method.
Expenses Relating to Clothing, Laundry, and Dry Cleaning
Now is not the time to go on a buying binge. You are not allowed to bring in all of the apparel that you might believe to be appropriate for the office. Expenses associated with the acquisition and maintenance of work attire fall under the category of industry-specific items. You may argue that you bought a pair of shoes specifically for the purpose of wearing them at work, but it would be difficult to demonstrate that this was not also the case.
One way of looking at this is to assess whether or not it is likely that a chef would wear their chef pants in any scenario other than their work, and the answer to that question is probably not. Pants of standard black colour and shoes with closed toes are acceptable attire for the workplace; nevertheless, these items are also acceptable for use in other contexts, as their function is not limited to that of the workplace.
The Benefits of Working from Home, as well as Recent COVID-19 Amendments
In 2021, many people who continue to work from home consider this to be a significant factor in their decision-making process. When determining what expenses are tax-deductible when working from home, there are two techniques to choose from: the fixed-rate method and the real cost method.
The first method uses a set rate of 52 cents per hour to determine compensation, whereas the second method requires you to keep a detailed record of all the costs you incur while working from home, costs that your company would have otherwise covered. This includes charges for things like utilities, internet, depreciation on technology, and other types of equipment.
The ‘COVID-hourly rate’ or shortcut technique’ has been extended to encompass the 2020/2021 fiscal year, bringing the fixed-rate approach up to 80 cents per hour. This change was made possible by the inclusion of the 2020/2021 financial year in the scope of the extension. Workers who have not incurred significant start-up fees and whose employers have supplied them with the required equipment and technology to carry out their tasks properly can benefit from this. Keeping a cost journal and reviewing the entries when it’s time to file taxes is the most reliable method for determining which expenditures offer the greatest return on investment.
You can make a tally of your hours worked and determine the amount you are eligible to claim using the quick technique. After doing so, you can evaluate this amount in relation to any costs you have incurred as a direct result of working from home. Based on this, you will be able to choose the approach that will offer you a more accurate deduction.
Masks for the face, hand sanitiser, and antibacterial spray are all recommended.
Our working methods have been altered as a result of COVID-19, most notably in regard to the requirement to keep a social distance and uphold habits of good hygiene. Find a line of work in which it is either impossible to preserve a social distance or in which you are required to have direct physical contact with customers. It is possible that you will be able to receive reimbursement for products of personal protection, such as face masks, hand sanitiser, and antibacterial spray.
Teachers, hotel employees, retail staff, medical staff (including ancillary workers like receptionists and cleaners), beauty therapists, and cosmetologists are all examples of people who are eligible to file a claim for unemployment benefits.
You are eligible to make a claim for a tax deduction equal to the cost of the bag if you use it for work-related activities, such as transporting an iPad, phone, calculator, stationery, or anything else that is required for your job. However, you need to exercise caution because the handbag you bring to work must not only be suitable for work but must also be used for work.
It’s possible that you won’t be able to claim that new Gucci bag, but if it’s a more modest bag and you can prove that you exclusively use it for work, you should be able to. It should be acceptable for men to claim a claim for a business briefcase, satchel, or bag.
Sunscreen, Sunglasses And Hats
Because prolonged sun exposure can be harmful to your skin, if you have a job that requires you to spend significant amounts of time working outside, you may be able to deduct the cost of sunscreen from your medical expenses. Gardeners, farmers, people who work in the building and construction industries, and people who engage in outdoor leisure, such as those who offer outdoor fitness classes, are all examples of people who might be eligible to claim sunscreen. Additionally, the same parties have the right to claim ownership of headgear and sunglasses.
An Apartment In Another City
Did you know that in some instances, you may be able to claim deductions against the location in which you actually live, even if it is considered to be your primary residence? If you own investment property, you can claim deductions against the rental income from that property. For instance, according to recent guidelines that have been issued by the ATO, if you are required to work away from home by your employer, your assignment in the other place is only temporary (so you haven’t actually relocated), and you choose to rent or buy an apartment in the other work location rather than relying on hotels or motels, you can claim a deduction for the work-related costs relating to the apartment, including either rent or interest on the mortgage, depending on whether you refinanced the apartment during
Instruments of Performance
If you are a professional performer (such as an actress, musician, dancer, magician, or performer in a circus, for example), you may be eligible for a wide variety of peculiar tax deductions. You may want to investigate into claiming these deductions. Mime lessons? Absolutely. How much do ceremonial swords typically cost? If you’re a professional sword swallower, then yes, without a doubt.
Classes in acting, dancing, playing musical instruments, or doing magic acts are among other possibilities. If you make your living from the stage or the film, you are immediately eligible for a wide host of peculiar and fascinating claims.