Expenses you probably didn’t know you could claim at tax time
12 May 2023
The following information is general in nature and has not considered your individual circumstances. Consult the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or your registered tax advisor to understand if these tips are applicable to you.
For some, tax return time is their favourite part of the year. For others, it’s a nightmare of receipts and numbers. Unless you’re well versed in everything tax, there are things you might be forgetting to claim. So, we’ve compiled a list of the ten things you may not have known you could claim in your tax return. Happy claiming!
Sunscreen, sunglasses and SPF makeup could be tax deductible if your job requires you to work outdoors.
If you use dogs for farming or security purposes, their maintenance, vet bills, and food costs are tax deductible. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include your pet Shih Tzu, unless you can prove Fluffy is the protector of your business’s premises.
If you purchase protective clothing, a work uniform or occupation-specific clothes, these may be claimable. This doesn’t include regular clothes you might purchase on your own accord and wear to work. Your laundry and dry-cleaning costs are also deductible for those eligible items.
Gifts and donations
You can claim a deduction for gifts or donations that that are made to organisations which have a ‘deductible gift recipient’ status, e.g. your favorite registered charity. But you can’t claim any amounts for gifts or donations that provide you with a personal benefit, such as raffle tickets or fundraising dinners.
If you made donations of $2 or more to bucket collections, amounts up to $10 are claimable without a receipt.
Home office use
Things like electricity and internet, if used in your home office, are tax deductible. The deduction needs to be proportional to your business and personal use, and there are different rules depending on whether you do or don’t have a separate space for work. The ATO has two methods for calculating additional running cost deductions, which are the actual cost method or revised fixed rate method. Please refer to the ATO website for more information.
Some of you might be excited by the surprising things you can claim but for some it’s just an additional headache and more numbers to calculate. If you fall into the latter category, there’s a good chance you’ll call upon an accountant or tax advisor to look after your tax return for you. Luckily, fees for a registered tax agent, barrister, or solicitor are also tax deductible! And don’t worry, they’ll work out that part for you too.
Television subscriptions, magazines, journals
Oh good, you can sit back for a night of streaming your favourite show and know the Government is picking up the bill? Not quite, sadly. If you work in the media or another relevant industry, things like paid TV subscriptions, magazines, and journals – if you need them to stay abreast of your field – may be claimable.
If you use a personal phone for work purposes, you can claim your work-related usage. Unfortunately, two-hour long calls to your cousin overseas don’t count.
There’s a few insurance costs you can claim, depending on your circumstances.
- If you operate your business out of your home, you can claim a proportion of home insurance.
- You can claim insurance costs for your rental property for the period it was rented or available for rent.
- Car insurance can be tax deductible if you use your own car for work, business or ride-sharing services (where it relates to earning an income). If your car is used for both work and business purposes, you’ll need to make a proportional claim for usage. If you use the log-book method, you can claim the work-related percentage of your car insurance as a deduction. The cents per kilometre method incorporates all costs, so there is no separate deduction for car insurance if you use this method.
Please refer to the relevant PDS for details on what’s covered and excluded under your insurance policy with Suncorp Insurance.
Salary sacrifice contributions
Personal contributions to your superannuation from your after-tax income are tax deductible for most people under 75. The ATO has the forms and nitty-gritty details. You must complete an s290-170 form before you lodge your tax return if you intend to claim for personal deductible contributions. And you will need acknowledgement from the trustee of the fund to claim the deduction.
Self-education that is directly related to your income may be tax deductible, depending on when the cost was incurred and paid. That could include things like seminars, conferences or courses.
- The ATO says claims must be directly related to earning your income (different rules apply if you work solely from home and depending on whether or not you have a dedicated office space). You must also have spent the money and not been reimbursed.
- So what sort of records will you need to supply? Receipts and invoices for equipment or asset purchases and sales and expense claims and repairs; payment summaries; sufficiently detailed bank statements; contracts; and tenant rental records are examples of records used to prove tax deduction claims.
- There are heaps of apps available to help you keep on top of receipts and other records to make things simpler at tax time.
- Remember, you only claim for a part of the item or thing that you use for work. For example, if you are claiming for internet, but use your internet for both work and personal purposes, you’ll need to calculate what part you can claim for work purposes.
- It’s best to lodge your tax return by the due date, October 31, unless you’re using a registered tax agent. Otherwise you could incur interest and penalties if you owe the Australian Tax Office money.
- If you wait until August or September to lodge your claim, some information will be pre-filled on your tax return form, saving you time and lowering the chance of any mistakes being made!
Get a copy of your tax invoice online
It’s quick and easy for eligible customers. You don’t even need to log in! Simply provide your name, date of birth, and phone number to receive your tax invoice in moments.
Banking products are issued by Suncorp-Metway Ltd ABN 66 010 831 722 (“Suncorp Bank”). Eligibility criteria, conditions and fees apply and are available on request. Please read the relevant Product Information Document before making any decision about this product. Suncorp Car, Home, and Contents Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance.
The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries. Consult the ATO or your registered tax advisor to understand if these tips are applicable to you or how they apply to your personal circumstances.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.