While it appears there are obvious deductions for small businesses, trade workers and students there are tax deductions you can claim as an office worker too. Whether you are planning on lodging your tax return via myTax previously known as e-Tax, which is a free web based program, or seeking the expertise of an Accountant it pays to look at what tax deductions you can claim as an office employee.
#1 Items you specifically need (and have paid for) to carry out your office job
According to the ATO’s ‘guide to depreciating assets’, you can claim the depreciation of tools or equipment (if $300 or less) which you use for work, for example a desktop computer. If the asset cost more than $300, you must depreciate the asset differently and will likely need the help of an accountant.
This means if you have a computer at home that is used for work after business hours (and your employer doesn’t provide you with a laptop to work from home) – you can claim a portion of it’s use on your tax return.
This can apply to other ‘tools and equipment’ – do some searching to see what else you might be able to claim.
#2 Education expenses related to your career
Have you been studying or attended any course this year? You might be able to claim these on your tax return. Claiming your self-education expenses means you need to have met certain conditions at the time the expense was incurred.
According the the ATO, the following conditions apply to self-education expenses:
- The course maintained or improved a skill or specific knowledge required for your
then current work activities.
- You can demonstrate that the course was leading to, or was likely to lead to,
increased income from your then current work activities, or
- Other circumstances existed which established a direct connection between the
course and your then current work activities.
#3 Communication expenses arising from your office job
It is important with your communication expenses to specify between business and private use, such as, mobile phone calls, home telephone calls and internet usage.
If you do not have an itemised account set up with your phone company then you’ll need to demonstrate with your personal records, such as diary entries. These diary entries calculated over a four week period is deemed acceptable to establish a pattern of use for the entire year, creating your percentage of business to personal use for each communication tool.
For example, over a four week period you can see two calls made per week to clients totalling 8 out of 16 calls made that month then your ratio would be 50/50 – 50% personal, 50% business.
This means you can claim 50% of your mobile costs (again, only if work does not provide you with a mobile phone).
#4 Fees and professional memberships
Your union fees and professional association memberships are deductible in full so keep those receipts.
When is comes to tax it pays to be sure you are claiming the right items for your occupation.
By using the online tax tools available, such as the myDeductions app, you can find more information specific to your industry/occupation that can assist you in your claim to maximise your Tax return this year.
Remember, when it come to tax it pays to be accurate and honest to avoid any penalities (and bad karma).
If you are unsure about a deduction seek council with a tax expert such as a qualified Accountant; this is why Savings Guide always recommends working with a tax accountant.