As the new tax year is well underway, it’s time to consider how you can start your tax planning early, and how you can save both time and money on your return.
If you plan on doing your tax returns without the help of a paid accountancy service, then this article will let you know all of the typical items you can claim for when you make your annual tax return, along with offering some practical advice about how to stay organized and keep on top of your tax administration.
What Expenses Can You Claim for Work?
According to an article released on ABC, the ATO have stated there is no such thing as a standard claim and regardless of what your colleagues are doing, you need to make sure you only ever make a claim for a legitimate tax return claim that based on your individual outgoings and expenses.
A few simple rules to sense-check your tax return claim are listed below.
- You must be able to prove you spent the money.
- It must have been money you spent yourself and money which you were not reimbursed for.
- The claim needs to directly relate to ‘earning an income.’
The exact list of items you can claim for will vary from one industry to another. The ATO has produced a useful guide that will give you a list of industry-specific items; you can view that via this link.
Working Remotely or From Home
With an increasing number of people who now work from home, this is a seemingly grey area that we will clarify in this section.
If you work from home, you can claim a total of 52 cents per hour in order to cover your utility costs or towards the depreciation value of your home/office furniture. If this applies to you, then you should keep a monthly log of how many hours per week or per month that you work from home.
Studying or Self-Education
If your study relates to your current job, then you can also claim a portion of those costs too. Some of the things you can claim for include;
- Student Union Fees
- Course Fees
- Home Office Expenses
Travel expenses incurred for travelling to seminars and conferences that are attended for work-related purposes can also be included in your claim.
Essentially, as long as it improves your skills, your earning potential, or you are learning something that is connected to your job; you can include this in a claim.
The cents-per-KM rate for work-related travel has increased to 68 cents per KM.
Home to work travel is not included if this is your regular place of business. However, if you are travelling to a seminar or a client’s place of work; then both the travel and any parking costs can be claimed for.
How To Stay Organized With Your Taxes
The most important piece of advice that is offered in related to staying in control of your tax administration is to make it a weekly or monthly activity. If you fail to prepare anything throughout the year and this becomes an annual task, it will be much harder to do, and the likelihood you will have all the proof you need to justify your expenses will be slim.
Do your tax administration on a monthly basis. Your expenses will be fresh in your mind, and the paperwork and receipts will be more easily retrievable this way.
Using a simple google drive or cloud-based document service to store a file you can quickly and easily accessible from anywhere is a great place to start. Not only can you keep a written record of your expenses, but you can also quickly and easily add images here too. Giving you a simple way to snap a copy of the receipt and store it easily for future recall.
There is also a range of apps you can use that help you with this kind of expense tracking too. In Fact, the ATO even offers a free app to help you with this.
The key takeaways from this are:
- Regular tracking and reporting are key.
- Do your admin and store digital copies of receipts as well as paper versions.
- Only ever claim for expenses you are entitled to and which you can prove.