Tax deductions are the number-one way to increase your tax refund
Tax deductions are the way you can get some tax money back from the ATO for certain items or bills that you’ve paid for through the year.
Below we’ll cover some common “refund-boosting” tax deductions, plus some important advice about getting the tax refund you deserve without risking ATO trouble.
Each year, most Australian Residents and Citizens must lodge an ATO tax return. This is the ATO’s way of determining if you’ve paid too much or not enough tax for the year.
When you lodge your tax return, you can usually claim tax deductions, resulting in a better tax refund. These tax deductions are expenses you’ve paid for yourself; mostly items relating to your work, plus a few other items like charitable donations.
Tax deductions are easy to claim if you’re prepared and know what you’re eligible for, which is why we’ve created this page. By reading what’s below, you’ll get an idea how to claim tax deductions and how much you could get back in your tax refund.
Here’s a very basic video about tax deductions in your return on Etax.com.au.
For more specific information about what to claim, and how, read on down below. The sections below explain what tax deductions to claim in which section of your online tax return.
Remember, doing this right means more money for you! The best way to claim tax deductions is to keep receipts to prove what you’ve spent money on – and we’ll cover some simple tricks to help you never forget a tax-deductible receipt ever again.
Work-related Car Expenses
If you use your car for work i.e. driving between different offices, visiting clients and/or transporting goods (to name a few) you’ll most likely be able to claim these back on your tax return, right at this section. The first thing to do is select the method in which you’re going to be claiming car expenses;
- one third of actual expenses or
- the logbook method.
Each of these methods can be claimed depending on what suits you best.
Work-related Travel Expenses
Travelling for work is an area in which you can claim tax deductions. If you’ve personally paid for something related to work-related travel and you haven’t been reimbursed or haven’t received an allowance, you may be eligible to claim a tax deduction. We have a comprehensive blog post you can read here detailing each section. Examples of items you can claim are;
- Overnight hotel stays while on a work trip
- Car hire charges
- Tax fares
Tip: Remember, receipts mean everything! If you have no way of proving your expense, it cannot be claimed at all, unfortunately.
Work related uniform, Occupation Specific Or Protective Clothing, Laundry And Dry Cleaning Expenses
Many workplaces require staff to wear particular clothing, such as a uniform or protective footwear. If you’re in a role that asks you to wear;
- a uniform (with a logo)
- protective clothing
- protective shoes
- glasses, goggles, gloves etc.
- high-vis clothing or
- anything similar that you’re required to pay for to do your job safely
…then you’ll be able to claim a tax deduction for any expenses you’ve incurred. This also includes laundering and dry cleaning of these items.
Tip: Ensure you keep receipts for any purchases and make note of how often you wash your uniform. This will help you determine what laundering you can claim. We’ve also got two blogs: one for Tradies and another for Freelancers that may help you determine additional expenses here.
Work-related Self-education Expenses
Self-study is a great way to improve your career while increasing your skill set. Making the decision to further your education while working in the area of your study also comes with the advantage of claiming back some of these expenses you incur while studying. Upload any invoices you’ve paid relating to your study in this section.
Tip: It’s important to remember you’ll need to be studying an area that relates to your current role (not something you’re aspiring to do) in order to claim tax deductions.
Other Work-Related Expenses
This “Other” section is where some people claim the most tax deductions. However, inside Etax some of these important deductions are shown separately – to help you find them more easily.
In many jobs and roles, you can end up spending money on items that are 100% related to your job. When that happens, you shouldn’t be paying tax on those expenses. That’s why you claim them as tax deductions.
Here’s a quick video explaining this section, where many people are able to boost their tax refund…
Some of the “other” work-related tax deductions you can claim can include:
- Union fees
- Training, seminars, conferences or workshops
- Stationery, notebooks, tax books, journals and trade magazines
- Tools and equipment (such as home printers, ladders etc.)
- Computers, laptops and software (if you work from home or are required to purchase/subscribe on behalf of your job.)
- Telephone, internet and home office expenses (if you work from home.)
- Mobile phone costs (see this blog post about claiming work-related phone calls
- Travel, hotel, overtime meals (see above work-related travel expenses)
Tip: The best way to determine what you can claim is to keep receipts throughout the year for anything you paid for that was directly related to your work, then check with a tax agent who can try to maximise your tax refund. For example, you can snap and upload receipts at etax.com.au, right inside your online tax return, then when Etax accounts staff review your return (for a low fee) they can see your deduction receipts right there, and help you omit ones that aren’t eligible, plus suggest some others you might be able to claim.
Gifts or Donations
If you’ve made a donation this financial year to a registered charity, and have receipts to prove your donations, this is the section to add your receipts to. You’ll need to confirm that your donation is to a registered charity, as they are the only organisations with eligibility to offer tax deductible receipts.
Cost of Managing Tax Affairs
You can claim expenses that relate to managing your taxes, including the tax agent fees you pay for lodging your tax return. You may also be able to claim back tax reference books, quantity surveyor reports and any interest charges from the ATO, if applicable.