Often tax payers are unaware of deductions they’re able to claim. Whilst it’s an obligation to pay tax, that doesn’t mean you should be paying more than you have to.
Whilst we strongly suggest seeing a professional such as us to prepare your return, having some insight into what you can and can’t claim will help you keep the right records. As most people have heard, not keeping the right receipts will substantially reduce your potential to claim the maximum amount possible.
Deductions are industry specific so it’s important to educate yourself on what you’re entitled to claim. Below are some commonly overlooked tax deductions you may be able to claim on your next tax return.
If you’re required to wear a uniform to work you’re able to claim the cost of the clothing. General clothing items, for example a suit, are generally not something you can claim even though you may wear it to work every day.
Protective gear specific to your occupation (such as steel cap boots for tradesmen or sunglasses and sunscreen if you’re a teacher often outdoors) are examples of items that are generally deductible.
Donations made of $2 or greater are tax deductible providing they’re to registered charitable organizations. Donations must not provide any personal benefit, for example, you would not be able to claim the purchase of raffle tickets as there is personal incentive. A lot of the time the receipt will state if the donation will be tax deductible.
Sponsorships and other donations by a business where the business receives a benefit (such as naming rights to a sporting event) may also be deductible.
Whether you have your own business or find yourself taking your work home with you, any usage of the computer and internet you use for work purposes is tax deductible. If the computer is used for both personal and business related use, you can claim the business use percentage. The same goes for internet costs, home phone and electricity/gas usage.
Managing Tax Affairs
Most people know to claim the fee paid to see your tax agent however, it is generally overlooked that you’re also able to claim any travel costs you have incurred to see a tax agent.
Some travel and vehicle expenses can be deducted. This can include travel to any meetings you’ve had outside of your regular workplace, travel to a place of education for work training purposes or any travel between worksites if you’re regularly moving between. Regular travel simply to and from work is not deductible unless you’re carrying bulky items of substantial weight. If you have two jobs, travel between the two work places and then home is also generally deductible.
Union Fees and Other Professional Memberships
Generally the cost of union fees, professional memberships and attending educational conferences related to your professional can be claimed as a deduction.
If you are on-call or use your phone for work purposes, you may be able to claim a portion of the monthly or data charges as a deduction.
The information in this article is for general interest and is not intended as advice. For advice and planning, consult an experienced tax professional.