Although you can hire a registered tax agent to get help with filing your 2019 Tax return, a little guidance about the ATO tax return rules for office workers can help you know exactly what you can and cannot include as a deduction on your tax refund request this year.

Here, we outline the typical items that office workers in Australia do and do not qualify for on their tax refund requests.

Firstly, before we get into the details about the specific types of expenses you may include on your 2019 tax return, there is a rule of thumb that applies to anyone looking to lodge a tax return with the ATO.

Guidance from the ATO for work-related expenses that apply to office workers are below:

  1. It must be an expense that is directly related to earning your income.
  2. You must have paid for it yourself without any reimbursement.
  3. You must have a record of the expense or be able to provide proof of the expense.

What Can An Office Worker Claim For As Part Of Their Tax Refund In 2019?

To make it easy, we have broken down the most popular types of expense areas that people who work as an office worker will claim for as part of their annual tax return.

Home Office Expenses

If you work from home, then you are able to claim for a percentage of the total running costs for your house, including any depreciation of equipment, work-related call costs, electricity, and internet charges. You will be expected to keep a diary that details when you worked from home as a minimum, along with a copy of your monthly bills.

You will not be able to include the cost or any portion of the cost of your rent/mortgage, insurance, or rates.

Clothing Expenses

If you need to buy, repair, hire or clean any items of clothing that are unique to your job, then you can include these as part of your annual tax refund. For instance, if you wear a shirt or top that contains the logo of your company, this is an acceptable claim. However, if your clothes are plain clothes, without any branding or specific job-distinctive purpose, then you may not include this as part of your claim.

Travel Expenses

If you are not attending your usual place of work and you are required to travel overnight, then you can claim for these travel expenses. These expenses may include the cost of the actual travel, hotel or accommodation as, costs for parking, and any other incidental expenses that your employer did not reimburse you for.

Car Expenses

If you have two office jobs, and you need to drive between each one on the same day, or you drive to two different office locations for the same employer on the same day, you can include these miles in your tax refund claim.

Generally, you are unable to claim any of the costs between your home and regular place of business, unless you are carrying equipment for work purposes.

Self-Education Expenses

If you take a course of any type that is directly related to your current role, such as updating a first-aid certification, then you can claim a deduction for this under the self-education expenses category. However, if your studies are directly linked to helping you get a new job, then you cannot claim a deduction for this.

Other Expenses

There are many other individual items that may arise as a work-related expense during the course of the year. Providing the expense directly relates to your employment, such as attending a seminar, presentation, conferences, and such.