Attention all retail managers, shop assistants, customer service reps and call centre consultants – our customer service worker tax deductions guide is here to make sure you get the most out of your tax return this year!
As a customer service professional, it can be difficult to know what you’re eligible to claim and what you’re not. Things like using your mobile phone for work, sending emails from home, or purchasing magazines for product research can all become quite murky to navigate in terms of what you can claim back on your tax return.
Good news! We have simplified the process for you by providing a list of all the tax deductions you may be eligible to claim as a customer service worker. Don’t miss out on the expenses that can all amount to a pretty attractive tax return!
What are the common tax deductions for customer service workers and retail staff?
Mobile phone use
Firstly, if you’re required to use your personal phone for work purposes, it’s likely you can make a claim on your return. We recommend checking your phone bill to log how many work calls you’re making each month as the deduction will be based on this percentage (don’t worry, we’ll run the numbers for you!).
Jack is the retail manager at a chain of local clothing shops. Part of his role involves calling store managers as well as clothing suppliers using his own phone. At the end of the month Jack uses his phone bill to work out that 55% of his calls are work related. Therefore, on his $99 per month bill, Jack can claim 55% of it as a tax deduction. This equates to $54.45 per month or $653.40 each year in mobile phone tax deductions!
If you use your car to travel between varying work locations, pick up materials or supplies, or travel to and from meetings you can claim car use on your return. For more information on how to calculate this deduction, visit our guide to car expenses.
*You cannot claim for travel from home to your regular place of work (and vice versa).
Angela is a customer service worker at a local newsagent. Once a week for the 48 weeks of the year she works, she drives her personal car from one store to another (and back) to pick up or drop off stock. The total trip there and back is 24km. Angela can use the cents per kilometre method of 68 cents per km to claim her car travel on her tax return. In other words, she can claim $783.26 (24km x 0.68 x 48 weeks) on her return to help boost her refund.
Clothing tax deductions for customer service workers
If you wear a uniform with a logo or company branding you can make a claim. General items of clothing like a plain black shirts or pants are not included.
*Clothing must include a logo or some form of company branding for it to be tax deductible. In contrast, if the clothing is available to the general public to buy and wear, it is not claimable.
This is one another deduction that can be easily missed!
If you use your home internet for research or work, then a percentage of your bill can be claimed. For customer service workers, this might include managing rosters or emails from home or coordinating stock orders. For your tax return, it’s important to keep a record of how much you use your internet connection for work as opposed to personal use. Then, on the Etax return simply enter your total monthly bill and your work related percentage. We’ll do the rest of the maths for you!
Sarah does her rosters and stock orders from home during the week. The internet bill for her and her partner is $99 a month which she splits with her partner 50/50. That makes Sarah’s share of the internet bill $49.50 per month. Sarah kept a log of her time on the internet for one month and found that 45% of her time on the internet was work related.
To work out her claim Sarah does the following:
45% of $49.50 is $22.28 per month. $22.28 x 12 months comes to a total of $267.36. As a result, Sarah can claim back $267.35 of internet expenses on her tax return!
Laptops Tablets and Computers can also be a retail worker tax deduction
If you manage emails, stock orders or rosters at home on your personal laptop, PC or tablet, you’re usually eligible to claim the costs of purchasing the device.
*You cannot claim the full cost of the item if it is $300 or over. Instead, you will receive a specified amount based on the depreciating value of the item. Have a read of our guide to claiming your computer back on tax.
Diaries, notebooks, pens and daily planners.
Magazines and Books
If you use any magazines or books for research or education for your role. This will need to be documented in some way so you can show how the magazine was used for work purposes.
Work bag or laptop bag
If you carry items specifically for work in a designated bag, you can claim that back on tax. Items must be used for the purpose of transporting work items and materials, not personal items.
Customer Service Training and Education
Did you attend a product launch away from home this year? Or maybe you took part in some sales training to help hit your KPI’s?
Any certificates, diplomas, degrees, training or events relating directly to your current role, along with the accompanying expenses can likely claimed back. These include:
- Phone costs
- Travel (flights, public transport, Uber or taxis)
- Accommodation and meals (overnight stays)
- Textbooks and resources
Self education expenses can be tricky. Therefore, we recommend taking a look at our guide to deductible self-education expenses for more detail.
Other valuable customer service worker tax deductions:
- Previous year’s tax agent fees – that’s right! If you paid a fee for any tax agent the previous year, that can be claimed back now.
- Income protection insurance payments
- Registered charity donations
- Membership or association fees relating to your profession
- Work equipment – If you purchased any item of equipment specifically for your job, you can claim it back.
As we said, we’re here to crunch the numbers for you. If you’re a retail or customer service worker, we’ll help you claim all of the tax deductions you’re entitled to. Simply provide us with the facts and we’ll take of the rest.
Still unsure about your claims? Speak to your Etax accountant. We’re here to help you make the most out of your tax return and feel comfortable and confident that everything is being taken care of. Alternatively, send us an email at [email protected] or message us on Facebook.