We all want to maximise our tax return each year and make sure we’re using all of the tax deductions available to us. However, when it comes to tax time, most people aren’t taking advantage of all of the tax deductions they’re actually eligible for. As a result, thousands of dollars are being left on the table instead of making its way back into our pockets.
Here are some of the most common tax deductible items most people don’t know about, which you can take advantage of this year.
Home Office Expenses
You don’t have to be working full-time from home to claim home office tax deductions. Even if you work from home occasionally, you can the business portion of expenses for computers and electronic equipment, stationery , printing cartridges, computer software, depreciation on office furniture and general running costs of the office (such as power and lighting).
You can also claim portions of your mobile phone bills used for work related calls, as well as home phone and internet bills. Just make sure you keep receipts and invoices for your purchases, record your hours at home and take tabs on what chunk of your overall expenses are work related vs personal use.
The ATO also allow a claim of $0.45 per hour for hours worked at home which covers lighting, heating and cooling, and depreciation of an office desk and chair.
If you’ve been studying during the year you may be able to claim the costs of self-education if one of the following describes your situation:
- At the time the expense was incurred there was a direct connection between the self-education and your current work activities.
- You can show that the study leads to, or may lead to, an increase in income from your current employment or work activities.
- Any other direct connection can be found between the self-education and current work activities.
The catch here is the course needs to have a ‘sufficient connection to your current employment’. In other words, it must be improving your skills or increasing your salary potential in your current line of work. Unfortunately, dream jobs don’t count!
Memberships and Subscriptions
One of the lesser known tax claims which can impact your return are memberships to unions and associations relevant to your job. You can claim the total cost of these memberships in most cases, which is good news because some of those fees can be pretty costly. Similarly, if you subscribe to any work related magazines and professional journals, you can claim them as well. For some occupations, you can even claim a percentage of TV subscriptions, provided it contributes to your performance at work.
Donations to Eligible Charities
You might recall being told by a charity worker on the street that donations are tax deductible. While most people know this is a fact, many forget to claim it come tax time. If you do make a donation, ensure you retain a record of it. This even extends to political donations.
Industry Specific Expenses
The phrase ‘work-related expenses’ can be applied broadly to such a large range of professions in the workforce today. If an expense is linked to performing your job competently, it can most likely be claimed. Tax deductions for dogs, for example, are available to those who work with them. Uniform and protective clothing and equipment claims are also eligible in a range of occupations such as security guards, nurses and defence force workers. Refer to our website for more details on various occupation specific claims.
It’s generally known that you can’t claim regular travel between your home and your office. However, you are able to claim travel between two different working locations. This means any transport you use between two jobs, or between your office and a client’s house. There’s also a claim you can make if you’re carrying large tools or work-related items in your car. If you work from home there are a number of extra tax deductions available which can’t be accessed otherwise.
The tax deductions list from the ATO is a long one, but it could be worth hundreds of dollars or more just by reviewing what you can claim. Don’t forget that most of your expenses (including many listed above) require receipts as evidence of your purchases. Some items can be claimed without receipts – If you’re interested in what’s included in this list, take a look at our guide to tax claims without a receipt.
Have more questions about the above, or want to know what other tax deductions you’re missing out on? Contact the professionals for more information.