What are individual tax deductions?

If you’re an employee who is paid a salary or wages by your employer, you are classed as an individual by the ATO. Each year you are required to submit an individual tax return and the expenses you can claim on your return are called individual tax deductions.

As an employee you are eligible to claim expenses related to your particular profession. As an example, these may include exercise equipment if you’re a personal trainer, teaching aids if you’re a teacher and non-slip nursing shoes if you’re a nurse.

Aside from these occupation specific expenses, there are many other work related expenses that you may be able to claim as individual tax deductions.

Knowledge is everything
To ensure you’re getting the best possible refund and paying the least amount of tax, it’s important to know what individual tax deductions you might be entitled to claim and to keep good records each time you incur a work related expense.

Tax deductions can range from, motor vehicle expenses, work related mobile or internet costs, work related travel costs such as a flight to attend a seminar, the cost of uniforms and even charity donations.

So what individual tax deductions can you claim?
Below is a list of common individual tax deductions that you may be able to claim; some of them may be a surprise to you. But remember, you can only claim genuine expenses that you have a receipt or other evidence for. The ATO is very good at picking up on claims that don’t seem quite right and if you’re caught out you could be in for a very hefty fine.

PLEASE NOTE: Not everyone can claim all of the following expenses as individual tax deductions as some will be subject to you meeting specific criteria and in some cases being in receipt of allowances. Your tax agent will be able to advise what you personally can and can’t claim in keeping with your own particular circumstances.
Individual tax deductions you may be able to claim:
FEES
Accounting fees including tax return preparation
Professional membership fees
Union Fees
Income Protection
EDUCATION
Self-Education
Course fees including text books (note: HELP/HECS repayments are not tax deductible)
Professional libraries and work related magazines
EQUIPMENT
Calculators and electronic organisers
Computer related consumables
Computers and laptops
Internet usage (excluding connection fees)
Ipad & similar small electronic equipment
Phone – Home Office + Mobile + phone accessories
Software
Briefcases and carry-bags
Safety equipment – e.g. sunscreens, hard hats, harnesses, safety glasses
Sunglasses (if you work outside)
Technical instruments
Tools of trade
Decline in Value for depreciating assets (where cost exceeds $300)
TRAVEL
Tolls – where relevant to work related travel
Motor Vehicle Expenses-e.g. fuel
Parking Fees
Public transport fares
General travel expenses, including flights, taxis etc.
Accommodation and meals (if away from home overnight)
HOME OFFICE
Desks chairs and other office furnishings
Home Office running costs
Stationery
Postage
CLOTHING
Protective clothing
Uniforms (with logo)
Laundry of work uniform or protective clothing
MISCELLANEOUS
Gifts
Charity Donations
Individual tax deductions receipts

REMEMBER: You can’t claim an expense if you have no proof, so remember to keep a logbook (if required) and get a receipt for every expense. Even if you’re not sure you can claim it, keep the receipt safe and ask your tax agent.

Getting in the habit:
Being organised with your expenses is a good habit to get into. Keep a clear record of your expenses, such as an excel sheet or even a note pad if you prefer. Keep your receipts all in the same, safe place and split them into months so they are easier to provide at tax time. Separate envelopes or folders is the simplest way to separate them – just write the month on the outside and you’ll easily keep track.

TIP: Photograph each receipt when you get it as many have a tendency to fade. This means any hard to read receipts can still be claimed and you have an electronic back up on your computer. YOUtax provide all clients with secure access to our Client Portal so securely uploading and storing your receipts and other personal documents is simple.

Need more advice on individual tax deductions?
No problem, simply contact us today by calling 07 5321 9217 or click here to book an appointment directly with one of our friendly accountants. Alternatively, upload your documents securely through our Client Portal for processing.