Unfortunately, not a huge amount has changed over the past tax year when it comes to claiming tax deductions without receipts. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) hasn’t become any more lenient when it comes to claiming tax deductions without receipts. In order to secure your tax refund, you still have to have written evidence for just about every tax deduction you make.
That being said, there are a couple of areas where you don’t need to produce receipts in order to make a claim. Here’s a quick run down of what you can claim on tax without receipts in 2015.
Don’t get too excited just yet; you can’t claim a tax deduction for washing the kids footy jumpers, or getting a red wine stain out of your business shirts.
You can, however, claim a tax deduction for the cost of laundering a uniform, protective clothing or other eligible items. And, this deduction can be claimed without a receipt along as your total claim is $150 or less. If however you choose to claim expenses over the $150 amount (such as dry cleaning of uniforms, and so on), then receipts will be required.
Remember, conventional clothing doesn’t count as a uniform. In most cases a uniform needs to include a companies logo on it, be protective in nature (such as high visibility tops, overalls, lab coats, and so on), make you easily identifiable as an employee, or be registered with AusIndustry in order for it to be eligible. So, getting that slim-fit Hugo Boss dry-cleaned isn’t going to help you out in this area, unless it has a company logo on it. Take a look at our guide on claiming uniform expenses for more detailed information.
If you receive a genuine travel allowance from your employer and your claim doesn’t exceed more than the reasonable amount you aren’t required to keep evidence. Expenses that come under this allowance extend to accommodation, meals and incidentals related to travelling. However, because life and work are unpredictable there is always a chance that you’ll end up travelling more, or maybe less, than you thought and if you’re claim goes above the reasonable amount you need evidence for the whole claim, not just the claims that go beyond the reasonable amount. When it comes to travel expenses, it’s a good idea to keep receipts just in case you go beyond.
If you are paid a bona fide overtime meal allowance under an industry award and your claim doesn’t exceed the reasonable amount as outlined by the ATO, you don’t need evidence to claim a deduction to offset that allowance amount.
Home Office Expenses
If you perform some of your work from your home office, you may be able to claim a deduction for the costs you incur. The ATO allows a deduction of $0.45 per hour to cover the expenses of heating, cooling, lighting and depreciation of general office furniture such as chair and desk. Expenses such as stationery, telephone, internet, and computers can be claimed separately.
The Magical $300 Limit
So many people forget about the magical $300 tax deduction limit allowed by the ATO. In simple terms, if your total claims (not individual claim) for tax deductions are under $300, then you will not be required to provide any written evidence. So, if you haven’t claimed anything at all, or have claimed very little, then don’t forget you can the ATO is OK with total claims up to $300.
There are special circumstances where the ATO will be a little more sympathetic to your lack of written evidence and receipts in your 2015 tax return, including:
- If there is sufficient evidence to prove that you are entitled to the deduction
- You were reasonable in assuming that keeping evidence was unnecessary
- Or when evidence has been lost or destroyed and you can prove you do everything within your power to prevent this from happening.
These special circumstances extend to claims such as, work expenses and travel expenses.
Keeping receipts can be an annoying process and it can often add to your tax agent bill if they have to spend most of their time sorting through a shoebox of receipts. The wonders of modern technology mean that electronic evidence and electronic copies of receipts can be used in replace of paper ones. That means that you can avoid having to even think about what you can claim without receipts just by downloading an app on your Smartphone so you can easily capture the receipts as you go.
If you still have questions about what you can claim on tax without receipts in 2015, then contact the friendly experts at Online Tax Australia.