So, you tried out our tax calculator, right? Noticed any difference between the calculations and your actual paycheck? If you've ended up paying more tax than you should've, no worries! You can get that overpaid tax back by lodging your tax return. In Australia, if you're doing it yourself, make sure to lodge it by the 31st of October.
When completing your tax return, you're entitled to claim deductions for some expenses that are directly related to earning your income. Here are TOP-10 you should consider:
Top 10 Tax Tips and Things to Claim:
Tip #1. If your over 55 years of age and have an income from working (even part time) you may be eligible for a $500 Mature Age Worker Offset. You should earn less than $53,000 to be eligible for Mature Age Worker Offset though.
Tip #2. You can claim work expenses up to $300 without receipts IN TOTAL (not each item), with basic substantiation. However, if you claim over $300 you need proper substantiation for all of the amount including the first $300.
Tip #3. Maintain all records and receipts for 5 years from the date you lodge your return. This is a MUST as you can be audited or asked to produce these at any time.
Tip #4. You can receive a Government contribution to your superannuation fund. The basic rules are being a resident, having at least 10% of your income from employment or carrying on a business. By making a personal contribution to your superannuation fund of up to $1000 the Government will match this with up to $500 co-contribution if your income in total is below $31,920. This benefit is reduced as your income exceeds that figure. The reduction is by 3.33 cents for every $1.00 of income in excess of $31,920 but less than $46,920.
Tip #5. Sun Protection – if your job requires you to work outside for sustained periods in the sun and you have purchased sunscreen lotion , sunhat or sunglasses, these are claimable.
Tip #6. Clothing – this is a complex subject. The following types of clothing ARE claimable.
- Protective clothing and footwear which protects you from injury or damaging your everyday clothes. i.e. steel capped shoes, an art teacher’s art smock.
- Occupational specific clothing. i.e. checkered pants worn by a chef
- Work uniform – means it will usually:
- incorporate your employers logo and be unique to your employer
- not be available to the general public
If your clothing is eligible you can claim for the purchase, cleaning and maintenance including laundering at home.
Clothing NOT claimable includes waiters required to wear black pants and white shirt – these are normal clothing and not claimable.
Tip #7. Other possible work related expenses. These must be directly related to your work as an employee and you’ll need to be able to prove a connection and provide evidence of this connection & receipts.
- Personal computer and internet expenses
- Home telephone and mobile phone expenses
- Union or professional association fees
- Professional journal or magazine subscriptions
- Work-related seminar or training course fees
- Cost of a new briefcase or computer carrybag
Tip #8. Income Protection Insurance. If you paid for income protection insurance to provide income continuity should you be unable to work, you are permitted to claim the insurance premium as a tax deduction.
Tip #9. Investors – possible claims include.
- Subscriptions to investment journals
- Travel to advisors
- Interest on loans
- Telephone, postage, internet
- Professional advice etc.
Tip #10. Sundry – These things are also claimable.
- Last years Tax Agents fees
- Travel costs to Tax Agent
- Purchasing tax reference material
- Interest paid to the ATO for late payments of any tax owed in previous years (but not penalties).
Now, if your feeling confident you can lodge your tax return yourself by using E-Tax or paper tax return with ATO. However you can get help preparing and lodging your tax return by using a registered tax agent. If you use a registered tax agent, you can usually lodge later than 31st of October, but you need to register with them as a client before 31 October to qualify. Once again - Tax Agents fees are tax deductible.