Tax Return - What Deductions Can I Claim?

(last updated 05/05/2014)

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I have to buy tools/equipment for my job. What can I claim and how much?
You are able to claim expenditure incurred in replacing, insuring and repairing tools of trade that you
use for earning your income. The amount you can claim will depend on what records you have kept.

As a teacher I spend a lot of money on buying teaching aids for my students. Can I claim these expenses?
Yes, but you must be able to substantiate the expenses by keeping receipts and invoices - see Claiming Teaching  Aids.

During the year I work from home after normal working hours. What can I claim?
If you perform any employment activities from home there are some expenses that can be claimed on your tax return. Ideally, you should have a room set aside as a home office - see Claiming Home Office Expenses.

My job requires me to keep my knowledge up to date and I buy books and journals. Can I claim them all? 

If technical books, trade books or journals are necessary to fulfil job function efficiently then the cost of their acquisition is deductible. 

I travel to work each day and transport my tools. What can I claim and how much?
If your tool kit or work related equipment is heavy or bulky you can claim a tax deduction for that travel - see Transporting Bulky Tools to Work.

Sometime I travel between two work locations. Can I claim that travel cost?
Work related travel is an allowable tax deductions - see When Can I Claim Car Expenses.

Can I claim a deduction for sun protection items?
A deduction is available for outdoor workers who buy sunscreen lotion, sunglasses and hats for use at work. The claim must be substantiated and adjusted for private use.

I have incurred travel expenses this year. What can I claim?  
Your travel must be relevant to your job function for you to claim a deduction for those expenses. Where this is the case you can claim the cost of transportation and incidentals. If your travel involved an overnight stay you would be able to claim for meals - see Claiming Overnight Travel Expenses.

I keep a room set aside in my house for a home office and would like to claim some expenses.
If a taxpayer carries on all or part of their employment activities from home, then some portion of the home expenses can be deducted. Where a home is a place of business, deductions can be claimed on the following items of expenditure - interest, rent, house insurance, council rates, heating and lighting, depreciation, insurance, repairs, cleaning, pest control, maintenance, decorating and telephone.

I need to have a telephone for making and receiving business calls and would like to know what I can claim.  Installation costs are not deductible. However, part of the rental costs are deductible where a taxpayer is required to make calls from home. Call costs would be deductible and a log of calls must be kept. Mobile phones are claimed in the same way.

I am expected to maintain a well groomed appearance. Can I claim these expenses?
Expenditure on personal Grooming and haircuts are generally not deductible. There are exceptions for taxpayers involved in the performing arts fields.

My employer expects me to wear specific clothing for work. What would I be able to claim?
Compulsory uniforms are generally deductible provided they identify you as an employee of that organisation. A requirement to simply wear specific colours is not enough to make the clothing deductible. Corporate wardrobes are also deductible if certain conditions are met. The uniform design must be registered with AusIndustry. You may also claim maintenance costs (laundry, dry cleaning and repairs) for tax deductible clothing - see Claiming Work Clothes and Uniforms.

Can I claim fees paid to my tax agent?  
Fees paid to a registered tax agent for preparation of your return, amendments and generally handling your tax matters are all deductible. You can also claim travel to your registered tax agent. Registered tax agents are the only people legally able to charge for the preparation of tax returns.

I buy tea towels from a charity each year when they ring me. Can I claim this as a deduction?
No. You are receiving something for the money expended. This is considered to be a purchase not a donation. The same applies to the purchase of raffle tickets.

Am I entitled to claim $300 work related expenses as this does not have to be substantiated?
No you cannot just claim $300. You must actually incur any expense before it is claimed. Whilst you may not need receipts for expenditure up to $300 you must have still spent the money and it must be relevant to your employment.

Is there a limit on how much I can claim as a tax deduction each year?  
There is no limit on the amount claimed each year. The expenditure must be work related and you may need receipts to substantiate the expenditure. Keeping incomplete, incorrect or no records at all may be limiting your ability to claim deductions. Advice can be obtained from a registered tax agent.

Is a credit card slip acceptable as a receipt?
Yes, provided it gives full details of the supplier and date of purchase. Taxpayers can make a notation on the receipt indicating the type of goods that were purchased. Many taxpayers use the Internet to purchase or pay for their work related expenses. The ATO will accept Bpay or email receipts provided they contain the necessary information: date, supplier, nature of the goods and the amount.

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