Can you claim tax deductions when you don’t have a receipt?
Claiming expenses without a receipt can be risky, because the ATO is watching for false claims, but in some cases it is okay! Let’s dig into this to ensure you maximise your refund AND avoid ATO troubles.
Tax deductions are the main way you can improve your tax refund. Basically, deductions add fairness to the tax system; if you spend extra money that’s connected with how you earn a living, then you get something back for that.
What can I claim on tax without receipts?
The ATO prefers that you keep a receipt for every expense that you want to claim on your tax return. But what happens if you don’t have a receipt? What if you lost it, or it’s so faded that you can’t read it?
Bank or credit card statements might allow you to claim tax deductions without receipts
There are cases where you can claim a tax deduction without a receipt, but there are 3 rules to follow
First, the expense must be “allowable”. This means you should be able to answer yes to these three questions:
- Is it directly related to and needed for your job?
- Did you pay for it yourself?
- You were not reimbursed or paid back by your employer (or anyone else)?
If you can say yes to all 3, and you have a credit card statement or bank statement showing transactions for the item(s) you purchased, then usually the ATO will allow that deduction even if you don’t have a receipt.
We always recommend chatting to us if you’re in that situation as we’ll be able to look at exactly what evidence you have and confirm whether you can include it on your tax return.
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Other deductions you might be able to claim without a receipt?
- Membership Fees or Union Fees: These are usually itemised on your PAYG summary or Income Statement or another summary you get from your employer or tax agent. If you have that documentation, a receipt is not normally required.
- Fuel/Petrol with a logbook: If you keep a proper car logbook for at least 12 consecutive weeks (over a 5 year period), then you can use the work-related kilometres you’ve travelled along with the size of your car and a nominal fuel rate to include a petrol deduction on your return. Etax can help work this out for you.
- Fuel/Petrol without a logbook: Even if you haven’t kept a car logbook, as long as you can demonstrate how you calculate the number of kilometres you’re claiming, the ATO will allow a claim up to a maximum of 5,000km per year, using the cents per km method.
- Computer Items: If you have a credit card statement and you make a note against it (e.g new home office computer from JB Hi-Fi) at the time of the purchase, you can use it as evidence of the claim. It also helps if you take a photo of the packaging as well.
- Stationery: If you have a credit card statement and you make a note against it (e.g Big W, calculator, ruler, pack of pens) you can usually claim them on your taxes without a receipt. Again, it helps if you take a photo of the items as well.
What the ATO does NOT accept as proof for deductions with no receipt
It’s important to mention that there are some forms of evidence the ATO will never accept. These include:
- Paying for something using cash. “I have no records, I paid cash” is not an excuse, as far as the ATO is concerned. If you say that to them, they will disallow your deductions.
- Having an item with a price tag attached, but no evidence you purchased it. The price tag doesn’t mean anything in this case. You also need a corresponding bank statement that confirms you purchased it.
- A catalogue or advertisement with the price of an item, but no evidence you purchased it. As above, if you don’t have a receipt, you need the catalogue AND a bank/credit card statement showing you bought it.
How much can I claim on tax without receipts?
The ATO generally says that if you have no receipts at all, but you did buy work-related items, then you can claim up to a maximum value of $300 per year.
Most people are eligible to claim more than $300 and this boosts their tax refund considerably. However, with no receipts you’re stuck below that $300 limit.
While the ATO won’t ask you for receipts if your claim is below $300 they may still ask you to explain what it was, how you paid for it, and how it is related to your work.
Claiming deductions without a receipt can be a tricky part of doing your tax return and we always recommend keeping a receipt where possible.
It’s both easy and important to keep your receipts throughout the year so you never miss out at tax time. This will really save you money.
Receipts is an easy problem to fix. Here’s how:
Use your Etax Account
- You can save deductions and receipts right in your Etax account, year-round, so they are ready for your next tax return.
- Snap a photo of your receipt as soon as you get buy something you’re planning to claim, then Log into Etax and upload it into your account.