What you could claim come tax time
20 May 2021
It may come with a lot of negative press but tax time needn’t be stressful, particularly if you’ve done your homework and are aware of the possible tax deductions available to help you reduce your overall tax costs.
Suncorp Life lists some of the more common allowable deductions to give you a good sense of what you’re entitled to so you can claim accordingly. We’ve also had a look at what you can potentially claim if you worked from home more over the past financial year. Once done, sit back and enjoy the relief that comes when you know your taxes are sorted for another year.
(Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different – and particular to your individual circumstances. Remember, if you’re not sure about whether or not you can claim a deduction, check with the experts: your accountant or a registered tax agent.)
Accounting / bookkeeping costs
Speaking of your accountant, you may be able to deduct any fees you pay them for the preparation and lodgement of your tax return. Also, a professional tax agent can walk you through other potential deductions for your unique business or situation. (They’ll also know about any new benefits you can get – or tax changes.)
Donations to charities
Have you kept the receipts for any charitable donations you’ve made over the financial year? Have a look at them to see if the organisation you donated to is a deductable gift recipient (DGR) and if the amount is over $2. If that is the case, you may be able to claim the donation. To qualify, any donation has to have been made with nothing received or expected to be received in return, and it must be recorded with a receipt. You can check whether the organisation has a DGR status here.
Income Protection Insurance premiums as a tax deduction
Income protection insurance can help you cover your expenses if you’re unable to work because of sickness and injury. It can potentially pay up to 75% of your average income (less business expenses) for up to five years, which can help provide relief if you’re too sick or injured to work. It can help you to keep on track with everyday expenses, giving you the necessary time you need to get back on your feet. And, it could also be claimed as a tax deduction since the premiums paid are for benefits designed to replace your lost income. If you do need to make a claim, any benefits received are generally assessable as income and liable for tax just like your regular income.
If your income protection insurance is held through your superannuation fund instead, then you aren’t the owner of the policy – your superannuation fund is – and you can’t claim as a tax deduction the amount your fund sets aside for income protection.
Education or training courses related to your job
Need to brush up on skills or extend your knowledge on something that is directly related to your job? These course fees may be deductible, plus any other costs associated with the course, such as textbooks, student service fees and travel between home or work and the place of study.
Other items related to your job
There are a number of other job-specific purchases that may be a valid tax deduction depending on the requirements of your unique role. The amount you can claim depends on the extent you used the items for work and there are also prescriptions around what can and can’t be claimed specific to roles and industries. Visit the ATO website to find out more.
Costs related to working from home
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action – but can you really claim for all that toilet paper, tea and coffee you consumed while working from home during lockdown? The short answer: no, you can’t. Your employer may provide these items at work for you but you can’t claim general household expenses against your income even if you did use a lot more toilet paper while working from home. Now for the good news: there are other items you may be eligible to claim for. These include electricity, phone, internet and stationery expenses. Plus, any home office equipment, such as computers, printers, phones or furniture – though again how much of this can be claimed depends on your circumstances and it may be helpful to work with a tax professional to determine what you’re entitled to claim for. For this (and last) financial year, the ATO introduced a shortcut method to calculate your work expenses (essentially 80 cents can be claimed per hour worked at home). The ATO has all the details on its website.
Suncorp Income Protection Insurance can not only help you to maintain your lifestyle, it can also offer assistance when it comes to a return-to-work plan. See here for more information, or if you have any questions about any other Life Insurance policy to best suit your needs, you can talk to a Suncorp Life Insurance specialist on 13 11 55.
- 5 benefits of having income protection insurance
- Superannuation Life insurance: is it enough?
- Your EOFY Life Insurance Stocktake
INFORMATION PROVIDED IN RESPECT OF TAXATION LAW IS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH AND FOR THE GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES OF AUSTRALIAN TAX RESIDENTS ONLY. IT IS BELIEVED TO BE ACCURATE AS AT 01 JULY 2020 BUT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. TAL IS NOT LIABLE FOR ANY LOSSES THAT MAY ARISE FROM RELIANCE ON THIS INFORMATION. TAL DOES NOT GIVE, AND DOES NOT PURPORT TO GIVE, ANY TAX ADVICE. AS THE APPLICATION OF TAX LAW DEPENDS ON EACH PERSON’S INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED TAX PROFESSIONAL.
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