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.

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 fulfill your job function efficiently then the cost of their acquisition is tax deductible.

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 apportioned for private use.

I have a job which requires me to be on the road a great deal and I have to use my own car.  What do I need to do so that I can claim a tax deduction for my car?

There are four different methods for claiming work related motor vehicle expenses and each has different record keeping requirements.  To ensure that you claim using the most favourable method it is advisable to keep a log book and all receipts for expenses (e.g. repairs, services, tyres, etc).  Your log book should be kept for a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks and generally it will be valid for five years unless there are significant changes in your circumstances.  It is not necessary that you use the same claim method each year.  The choice of method should be made on the basis of which is more favourable to you.  However, if you don’t have a current logbook or have not retained all receipts you will be limited in which method you can choose.

I have incurred travel expenses this year.  What can I claim?

Your travel must be relevant to your job function for you to be eligible to claim a deduction for those expenses.  Where this is the case and you have the necessary documentation, you can claim the cost of transport and incidentals.  If your travel involved an overnight stay you would be able to claim for meals.

I am paid an allowance for travel.  Can I claim a deduction for that on my tax return?

A deduction will only be allowed if you have actually incurred a work related expense and have the necessary documentation.  Travel to and from your job is generally not claimable unless, for example, you are carrying heavy equipment.  Some awards allow for a payment of an allowance even though an expense is not necessarily incurred by the employee.  If a deduction can be claimed it cannot be for more than the expense that you incurred even if the allowance that you have received was higher.

I had an overseas holiday during the year and while I was away attended a seminar that was relevant to my job.  Can I claim the cost of the trip?

No you cannot claim the cost of the trip because the main purpose was to have a holiday and attendance at the seminar was incidental to this.  You will only be able to claim the additional expenses that you incurred to attend the seminar.  These could include the registration fee, taxi fare to the seminar, etc.

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.

This year I bought a laptop and new mobile phone which I need for my work.  Can I claim the cost of these on my tax return?

Items like this that you buy for use in your job can be claimed on your return.  However, since the cost of these items is most likely to be more than $300 each you will not be able to claim the full cost in one year.  It will be necessary to spread your claim over the useful life of the items (depreciation) and only the work related proportion is claimable.  You should keep a log of work related use for a period of at least four weeks for each item to determine the proportion that you can claim.

I have had to pay for child care during the year.  Is this claimable on my tax return?

These expenses are not claimable as a tax deduction.  Eligible taxpayers may be able to claim the Child Care Tax Rebate (CCTR) through the Family Assistance Office.

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 or in a specific occupation.  A requirement to simply wear particular 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. Provided that the clothing is deductible then you may also claim maintenance costs (laundry, dry cleaning and repairs).

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 receive payment 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 cannot claim a deduction for this because you are receiving something for your money.  Buying an item from a charity does not make your purchase tax deductible. The same applies to the purchase of raffle tickets. Only donations to registered charities are tax deductible.

Am I entitled to claim $300 for work related expenses as this does not have to be substantiated?

You cannot just claim $300.  You must actually incur any expense before it is claimable. Whilst you may not need receipts for expenditure up to $300 you must have 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.

How long do I need to keep my receipts?

Documentary evidence should be keep for five years from the date of lodgement of the tax return in which the claims are made.