What can I claim on tax’ is one of the most common questions that the team at Online Tax Australia receives. For most people, tax and accounting is a once-a-year chore, come June 30. So, not surprisingly, most people aren’t experts on tax deductions, particularly when there are so many variables, and the Federal Government is continually making changes to taxation law (see What the Federal Budget 2015 Means for Your 2015-2016 Tax Return for details on some recent changes).
Your occupation, your marital status, your age and even the number of dependents you have, all have an affect on the types of tax deductions you can claim. There are, however, some deductions that the majority of people can claim.
To help you plan for your 2015 tax return, and all future tax returns, here is a (by no means exhaustive) overview of the types of things you can claim in your tax return.
Car and Travel Expenses
- You can claim parking and road toll expenses, if the expenses were incurred during an income earning activity.
- You can claim meal, accommodation and incidental expenses for work-related overnight stays.
- Keep accurate records of any expenses incurred during work related travel to assist in making a claim.
See, How to Claim Work Related Car Expenses for an in-depth discussion of claiming car related expenses.
You can claim the cost of purchasing, renting, repairing and laundering:
- A distinctive uniform that is required for work, such as a uniform that bears the logo of the company.
- A non-compulsory uniform that your employer has registered with AusIndustry.
- A compulsory uniform, or a set of clothing that identifies you as an employee and that your employer strictly enforces.
- Occupation specific clothing that is not for everyday use.
- Protective clothing and footwear, such as safety glasses and steel-cap boots.
You cannot claim expenses related to conventional or plain-clothes uniform (such as suits, if you work in an office or professional environment), even if wearing it is a directive of your employer.
You need to keep written evidence for all expenses if your claim is greater more than $150.
For more information, visit Uniform Expenses.
Self Education Expenses
You are permitted to claim a tax deduction for self education expenses if:
- The course or training is specifically designed to improve skills or knowledge that is specific to your current job.
- It will lead to an increased income within your current employment.
You cannot claim if the course or training:
- Only relates to your profession or employment in a general way. For example, if you’re a librarian you cannot claim the cost of undertaking a course in literature; this is not a requirement of your profession.
- If the training will lead to a new employment opportunity.
You can claim expenses such as:
- Tuition fees payable under FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and self-education expenses you paid with OS-HELP.
- The cost of meals, travel and accommodation if you are required to stay overnight for your study.
- The cost of textbooks, calculators, stationary, student services amenity fees, course fees, and the decline in the value of your computer (proportioned according to private and study use).
- Travel expenses between home and study, or study and work.
It’s essential you keep accurate written evidence of all costs associated with self education. This will make things much easier when you’re completing your return.
For more information visit Self Education Expenses.
There are also a number of other expenses that you can claim, including:
- Union fees and registration fees to trade, business or professional associations.
- Overtime meal expenses, if the expense isn’t covered by a workplace agreement (salary supplement) and you received a genuine overtime meal allowance.
- Professional seminars, courses, conferences and workshops.
- Reference books, journals and trade magazines.
- Tools and equipment and professional libraries.
- The work-related proportion of interest on money borrowed to purchase work related equipment.
- Depreciation of Work Equipment and Tools costing more than $300.
- Internet access for work use (claim the business portion of the total cost).
- Phone calls for work use (claim the business portion of the total cost).
- The decline in value for your home office furnishings and fittings.
- Home office expenses (for which the ATO allows $0.52 per hour, which covers light, power, desk and chair cost).
- The cost of managing your tax affairs, such as hiring a tax adviser.
Gifts or Donations
You can claim the expense of gifts and donations:
- That are over $2, and were donated to an approved organization.
- Contributions of $2 or more to a registered political party, or an independent candidate in a parliamentary election.
- Donations of approved stock exchange shares of $5,000 or less.
- An approved cultural bequest.
- A donation to a private ancillary fund.
You cannot make a claim if you receive something for your donation, such as a raffle ticket.
For occupation specific deduction refer to our Tax Tips and Help page.
Contact Online Tax Australia:
Your Reliable, Experienced Australian Tax Agent
If you’ve been searching for a reliable, experienced Australian tax agent, then contact the friendly team of professionally qualified, accountants at Online Tax Australia today:
- Call us on (03) 9852 9051
- Email us at email@example.com
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