What Can you Claim in your Individual Tax Return?

Interactive Team Monday, September 01, 2014

It's that time of the year to lodge your individual tax return! Here’s what you should be keeping track of outside what’s claimed in your business return or what your employer provides you.

Business % use of

  • Mobile phone 
  • Home Internet

Other deductions

  • Union fees and subscriptions to trade, business or professional associations Professional seminars, courses, conferences and workshops .
  • Reference books, technical journals and trade magazines. 
  • Tools and equipment and professional libraries. You maybe able to claim an immediate deduction for an item that cost $300 or less. Otherwise, you claim a deduction for the decline in value of an item over its effective life. 
  • Items that protect you from the risk of injury or illness posed by your work or your work environment, such as hard hats, safety glasses and sunscreens.  
  • Repair costs for your computer. 
  • The decline in value of your computer.

Home office expenses

Keep a diary of the details of your actual costs and your work related use of your home office. Alternatively, you can use a fixed rate of $0.34 cents p/h for heating, cooling, lighting and the decline in value of furniture in your home office.

Motor Vehicle Expenses

You can choose one of four methods to work out your car expenses. If you qualify to use more than one method, you can use whichever gives you the largest deduction or is most convenient. These methods are:

  1. Cents per kilometre 
  2. 12% of original value 
  3. One-third of actual expenses, or 
  4. A logbook.

Travel Expenses

This question is about travel expenses you incur that are directly related to your work as an employee. They include:

  • Public transport, air travel and taxi fares. 
  • Bridge and road tolls, parking fees and short-term car hire. 
  • Meal, accommodation and incidental expenses you incur while away overnight for work. 
  • Expenses for motorcycles and vehicles with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or nine or more passengers, such as utility trucks and panel vans. 
  • Actual expenses (such as any petrol, oil and repair costs) you incur to travel in a car that is owned or leased by someone else.

Work-related clothing and laundry

This question is about expenses you incurred as an employee for work-related:

  • Protective clothing Uniforms. 
  • Occupation-specific clothing. 
  • Laundering and dry-cleaning of clothing listed above.

You can claim the cost of a work uniform that is distinctive (such as one that has your employer's logo permanently attached to it) and it must be either:

  1. A non-compulsory uniform that your employer has registered with AusIndustry (check with your employer if you are not sure), or 
  2. A compulsory uniform that can be a set of clothing or a single item that identifies you as an employee of an organisation. There must be a strictly enforced policy making it compulsory to wear that clothing at work. Items may include shoes, stockings, socks and jumpers where they are an essential part of a distinctive compulsory uniform and the colour, style and type are specified in your employer's policy.

You can also claim the cost of:

  • Occupation-specific clothing which allows people to easily recognise that occupation (such as the checked pants a chef wears when working) and which are not for everyday use 
  •  Protective clothing and footwear to protect you from the risk of illness or injury, or to prevent damage to your ordinary clothes, caused by your work or work environment. Items may include fire-resistant clothing, sun protection clothing, safety-coloured vests, non-slip nurse's shoes, steel-capped boots, gloves, overalls, aprons, and heavy duty shirts and trousers (but not jeans). 
  •  You can also claim the cost of renting, repairing and cleaning any of the above work-related clothing.
You cannot claim the cost of purchasing or cleaning plain uniforms or clothes, such as black trousers, white shirts, suits or stockings, even if your employer requires you to wear them.

Self-Education Expenses

Self-education expenses that are related to your work as an employee and that you incur when you do a course to get a formal qualification from a school, college, university or other place of education. To claim a deduction for self-education expenses, you must have met one of the following conditions when you incurred the expense:

  1. The course maintained or improved a skill or specific knowledge required for your then current work activities.
  2. You could show that the course was leading to, or was likely to lead to, increased income from your then current work activities, or 
  3. Other circumstances existed which established a direct connection between the course and your then current work activities. 
You cannot claim a deduction for self-education for a course that relates only in a general way to your current employment or profession, or will enable you to get new employment.

Medical expenses

Legislation has changed regarding eligibility for the net medical expenses tax offset, restricting those who can claim and what medical expenses can be claimed. To be eligible to claim this offset you must have either:

  1. Received this offset in your 2012–13 income tax assessment; or 
  2. Paid for medical expenses relating to disability aids, attendant care or aged care.

Documents to keep:

  • Medicare Benefit Statement. 
  • Private Health Insurance Claim Benefit Statement. 
  • Chemist receipts or statement. 
  • Receipts or invoices for payments to hospitals, doctors, dentists, opticians and chemists for expenses relating to an illness or operation. 
  • Documents for any payments made to residential aged care facilities.

You should keep these documents that relate to you, as well as payments made for your dependants. This generally refers to your spouse and children, but may also include other dependants.

If you have any questions about your Individual Tax Return, don't hesitate to contact the Interactive Accounting team. We're here to help!

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