Australia’s leading tax accountants, H&R Block, have partnered with Officeworks to help Australians take the stress out of end of financial year and identify opportunities to maximise their tax refund.
Mindful that the rules and regulations vary across industries, H&R Block Director of Tax Communications, Mark Chapman, has summarised some key industry specific information around deductions to help Australians understand what they’re entitled to claim when submitting an individual tax return.
First things first, when claiming a tax deduction you must have spent the money, it must be work-related and you must have the records to support your claim.
Tradies can claim tools if they are used to make a living. The basic rule for employed tradies is that the whole cost of tools priced $300 or under can be written off as a tax deduction in that same year. Those costing upwards of $300 must be written off over their effective lives i.e. over a period of five years. The cost of transport to and from jobs (when carrying tools) can also be claimed, as can protective gear such as fire resistant clothing, footwear, sunglasses and sunscreen, if working outside.
Teachers can claim motor vehicle costs if used for student travel, clothing such as compulsory uniforms, self-education costs directly linked to the teaching profession including education expenses, textbooks, stationery and travel. Plus, teachers can also look to claim other costs linked to the profession such as phones, calculators, computers and software.
IT Professionals can claim a deduction for the work-related portion of the decline in value (depreciation) of computers, laptops, printers, software and server routers. They can also claim repair costs, interest on money borrowed to finance the cost of the computer and internet access costs.
As a general rule, desktop computers are depreciated over a period of four years, and laptops can be depreciated over three years. You can claim an immediate deduction for the full cost of the item if it costs $300 or less. If you use the computer or other item partly for private purposes, you must apportion the amount of your claim.
Remember, if your total claims for work-related expenses add up to more than $300, excluding claims for car, meal and travel allowances, you must keep written evidence, such as receipts. If the total amount you are claiming is $300 or less, you do not need to keep receipts, but you must be able to show how you worked out your claims.
Whether you need to stock up on technology, furniture or stationery supplies for your home office, Officeworks has a wide range of products that could be tax deductible, available in store and online.
For further tips and advice on personal tax, visit Officeworks’ dedicated ‘Happy Tax Place’ page: www.officeworks.com.au/campaigns/tax-time