Tax returns can be complicated. The rush to get them in on time, trying to work out what you can and can’t claim, trying to keep track of all your documentation. In the mad rush to get their taxes done, too many people miss out on a whole bunch of legitimate deductions that could be reducing their taxable income and saving them money.
The ATO provides detailed categories of expenses you can claim on its website. However, as with most things related to the ATO, it can be difficult to follow. So, we’ve put together a simple list of the most commonly missed tax deductions.
If you think you’re missing out, you should talk to a registered tax accountant to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to.
If you use your car for work-related travel ( traveling to and from work doesn’t count, unfortunately), you can claim fuel and vehicle maintenance as an expense. You must be the owner of the vehicle and the travel must be during work hours.
Vehicle work use includes traveling to meetings, traveling between workplaces or worksites, traveling to clients’ premises and transporting and delivering goods.
If you travel for work, there are a range of travel expenses that you can claim. These include car hire, taxi fares, car parking, transport expenses, accommodation, flights, and meals and food while traveling for work.
If you receive a travel allowance from your employer, you may also be able to claim that as a deduction.
Union and Association Fees
If you’re part of a union or you subscribe to any work-related associations, these fees can be claimed as work expenses.
Gifts and Donations
Charitable gifts and donations above the value of $2 can be claimed as deductions provided you have a deductible gift receipt. Only organisations that are designated deductible gift recipients can issue these receipts.
Rental Property Expenses
Expenses associated with investment properties can also be claimed as tax deductions. These include bank fees, maintenance and gardening costs, security, pest control, property inspections and so on.
Specific clothing that you’re required to wear for work, like protective clothing or uniforms, can also be claimed. This might include protective or high-vis clothing, steel-capped boots, medical clothing or work uniforms. Besides the purchase of the clothing, other deductibles include laundry costs, safety equipment, sunglasses and sunscreen.
You can claim education expenses if it can be clearly shown that the education is relevant to your work. This many include seminars and conferences, short and long courses and online courses.
Education expenses can include course and tuition costs (depending on eligibility) textbooks, stationery, some travel and accommodation expenses, computer expenses, home study expenses and so on.
See the ATO website for a full list of what you can and can’t claim related to self-education.
Work from Home Expenses
If you work from home, you may be able to claim deductions for general home office expenses. These include running expenses like heating and cooling, lighting, home office equipment and decline in value, computer consumables, repairs and maintenance, cleaning and more. Usually you are only able to claim a portion of these costs.
Talk to a pro
Of course the best way to make sure you’re not missing out on any tax deductions is be talking to a registered tax accountant. Make sure you’re not paying more than you need to and get on top of your tax today.