Tag: job specific tax deductions

Posts Tagged ‘job specific tax deductions’

Accommodation Allowances & Your Taxes

Traveling for work? Deduct your accommodation costs!

Are you missing out on your friend’s barbie to travel for work? No doubt, we know that work can be a drag if you have to travel, especially if it isn’t for vacation time. On the other hand, you could enjoy being pampered for a few days and get away from home. Luckily, whether you enjoy traveling for work or not, you can deduct most of your accommodation costs on your tax return if you are responsible for all of your up-front business trip costs.

Let’s take a look if you’re eligible to deduct these expenses and how to do it.

 

Did your employer issue you a travel allowance?

First, if your employer issues you a travel allowance for accommodations, you need to report it as income on your tax return. In other words, you do not need to declare the allowance on your taxes if:

  • The travel allowance is not on your payment summary.
  • The allowance is a deductible accommodation cost.
  • You can count meal and incidental expenses.


So, if it’s not included as income, then you can’t report it. It’s as simple as that! 

 

Follow this 6 Rule Checklist:

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Airport Lounge Membership Tax Deduction

A businessman walks into a (airport lounge) bar…can he deduct that?

No, this isn’t a riddle and the answer is yes. Generally speaking, an airport lounge club membership can be claimed as a tax deduction.

 

What does the ATO have to say about this?

Funny you should ask. According to the ATO, “The primary function of Airport Lounge Clubs is to provide business facilities and prompt and efficient services relating to the travel of their members.

Now, you may be thinking the initial thought that also popped into my mind…what about the complimentary hors d’oeuvres and bottomless mimosas served to loungers? Don’t worry. It’s no huge secret and the ATO does in fact know what occurs. However, they simply state that this hospitality is ‘merely incidental to the primary function’ of the clubs’ business.  

 

Can the entire membership be deducted?

Taking a flight is not exclusive to business travelers however, it is essential to certain businesses. That being said, you can most certainly use your Qantas or Virgin memberships when you’re vacationing with friends or family too. With that in mind, you should be separating business use from personal, and only deducting the business percentage on your tax return. Read the rest of this entry »

ATO Limits Car Expense Calculation Methods for 2016

Less is more when it comes to home decor, your golf score… and calculating your vehicle expenses?

That’s right! The ATO has decided to try out the minimalist trend and limit us to only two car expense calculation methods. Up until 2015, we were able to choose between the following methods:

  1. 12% of the original value
  2. Cents per kilometre
  3. ⅓ of actual expenses
  4. Logbook for 12+ continuous weeks

 

Don’t get too cozy with the list above. This year, the ATO is narrowing down our options to the following:

  1. Logbook method
  2. Cents per kilometre method

 

It’s important to know the ins and outs of these methods in order to choose the one that works best for you. Let’s take a look.

 

The Car Logbook Method

This method is the more popular choice among business owners and sole traders. Why, you ask? It will typically give you a bigger refund than other methods.

How does it work? Read the rest of this entry »

Top Tax Deductions for Landscape Gardeners

As a landscape gardener, working with your hands comes naturally while tax, well… not so much.

 

The tradie industry calls for long hours and imposes physical demands that may cause you to prepare and lodge your tax return without realising the tax deductions you could be reporting. Read on before lodging your 2015 tax return. We’ll let you know how you could be claiming a bigger refund this year and doing it quicker than you can unlatch that toolbox.

 

Tools & Equipment

It shouldn’t be at all shocking to you that your line of work requires an extensive amount of tools and equipment as well as repairs and upkeep. What may be a bit surprising is that most of these out-of-pocket expenses can be claimed as deductions on your tax return. Depending on your specific duties, below is a list of common expenses that could be used to earn you a higher refund back this year.

  • lawn mowers*
  • edgers*
  • garden hoses
  • fertiliser
  • leaf blowers*
  • shovels and rakes
  • fuel for power equipment

 

* Keep in mind that items costing over $300 must be depreciated and cannot be 100% deducted for the year they were purchased. Read the rest of this entry »

Hairdresser’s Tax Deductions

As a hairdresser, you have to build your clientele and keep them happy so they come back for their next number 3. With big responsibility comes hefty out-of-pocket expenses. Read on to see which expenses you can deduct on your 2015 tax return.

 

Do you use your shears at home and in your salon downtown?

A home office doesn’t only mean a desk and fax machine, right?. If you bring clients to your home, there are certainly costs associated. These costs may dig into your bank account now but you’ll be able to claim most of these expenses as deductions come tax time. Such  deductible expenses include (but are not limited to):

  • portion of electricity used for work purposes
  • portion of internet used for work purposes
  • portion of heating and cooling used for work purposes
  • furniture used for work purposes (just in case you neeeeeed that 360 degree swivel chair!)

 

Keep your skills well honed!

It’s not just your shears that you should keep sharp. If you find that you haven’t quite mastered the asymmetrical sweep, you may want to head back for some schooling. The best part of it: the cost of the course or seminar that you attend could be deductible if the following applies:
  • The work related training course you’re attending is not run by a university or TAFE. Travel to and from is deductible too!
  • The self-education course you’re attending is run by a university or TAFE. The costs of books, stationery, travel and equipment required by the school is deductible also.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top Tax Deductions for Teachers

Since teaching isn’t the typical office gig, you may want to pay close attention to those extra expenses you’ve acquired. With the proper receipts and documentation, they could be deductible.

 

Travel expenses

You’re a teacher. Chances are you’re not racking up airfare and room service costs. However, there are specific travel expenses that teachers should keep track of and deduct on their tax return. Teachers who drive can typically use the kilometre method to track their travel costs. Receipts or a logbook are not required unless you are a regular commuter. Some examples of what you could claim as a deduction include:

#1. You travel from work and home. Your school does not provide a safe place for storage so you carry bulky or heavy equipment in your car for work purposes. ie: an art easel or a musical instrument

#2. Are you an itinerant teacher who travels between a different number of schools daily? Maybe you are a language teacher who helps specific students in three different schools each day. Travelling expenses incurred from school to school can be claimed on your tax return. Since you are travelling regularly, you will need to  keep a full logbook and/or receipts.

#3. You travel after you have started work for the day. Let’s say you’re employed at the high school and are required to attend a district-wide meeting mid-school day across town at the elementary school. Travelling to and from is deductible.

#4. If you are required to travel to a work-related event after your typical school day has ended, you can deduct the costs incurred using the kilometre method. For example, there is a district-wide teachers conference that you are expected to attend on Tuesday night across town and you’ll be driving there from your school. This is deductible.

Read the rest of this entry »

7 Overlooked Real Estate Agent Tax Deductions

The number of Australian households who own their homes has gone up more than 10% since 1996.

 

With such steady demand, it’s no wonder that real estate is one of the fastest growing employment industries. While this profession allows for flexible hours and client lunches, many don’t pay close attention to the out-of-pocket expenses that add up.

Here are seven deductible expenses that you should report on your tax return this year:

 

Home Office Costs

This industry runs on deadlines. Deadlines can involve working round-the-clock at times, which is where a home office comes in handy. The ATO allows employees to deduct costs including heating and cooling, work-related phone costs, depreciation of office furniture, and equipment costs up to $300. For a more in-depth list, take a look at our article, “How to Claim Home Office Expense Deduction”.

 

Business Cards

An oldie but still a goodie! Business cards are a form of advertising that will never truly vanish from our culture. Sure, they may be tweaked a bit but the basic idea is bred in us. They work. Report these as an advertising expense on your taxes this year.

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Can I Claim A Gym Membership on My Tax?

 Is that gym membership tax deductible…or just taxing on your bank account?

New Year’s day came and went. Brimming with good resolutions plus one too many Carlton Draught’s, you went out and dropped a pretty penny on a pricey gym membership.

 

How did that go? Did your NAB account number also get a nice little work-out taking care of your online shopping carts at LuLu Lemon, GNC and Nike? Have a six pack you can now trade for that one in the cooler? If yes, then congrats and good going!

 

But it’s likely earning those extra muscles made a dent in your wallet as big as your newly-defined glutes. And if so, you’re as likely wondering if you can claim your gym membership fees as a tax deduction come lodgment time. It seems only fair given all the hard work, right?

 

It turns out the ATO is not so keen to offer a reward for a good cardio workout. In fact, while it’s a common misconception among gym-goers, especially if keeping fit was somehow required by their job, that their gym fees are deductible on their tax return. Only a few among us will prove eligible.

 

According to the ATO, one can only claim a tax deduction for a gym membership if the employee can demonstrate that strenuous physical activity is an absolute essential and regular factor of his or her income earning activities and that the costs were directly incurred to maintain a fitness level WELL ABOVE the profession’s general standard.
In other words…be prepared to pay full price for that Black Label Fitness First Membership.

 

What is WELL ABOVE the general standard of being fit?

Generally speaking, there are two professions that allow a gym membership deduction IF they are required by their employer to maintain a fitness level well above the general standard. These are as follows:

  1. Defence Force Members
  2. Professional Sportspersons

 

Now, in each of these categories, there are many different types of workers. Not all of them will be able to claim a gym membership as a tax deduction. It is more of a case-by-case situation. To break things down a bit more, let’s take a look at some examples.

 

Defence Force Members

The most commonly known  among this group would be a police officer. We’ll use Roger as an example:

 

Roger graduated from the police academy three years ago and has been employed ever since with his local department. As an entry level officer, Roger was encouraged to keep up with his fitness as he would be required to pass a standard physical fitness test once a year. With this in mind, Roger decided to join a gym. Being that Roger was only encouraged (not required) to maintain his fitness for a standard annual test, the ATO would not allow him to claim a gym membership as a deduction on his tax return.

So, when could a police officer claim a deduction for a gym membership?

Let’s stick with Roger…

After his three years as a police officer, Roger was promoted to a police academy physical training instructor. Along with other new responsibilities, Roger would also be required to maintain a superb level of fitness in order to sustain his position as an instructor. At this point, Roger’s job duties require him to have a fitness level “well above the general standard” which means that claiming his gym membership and gym fees as a tax deduction would be permitted by the ATO.

 

See the difference? The same would apply to other defence force members with fitness requirements that are also above average.

 

Professional Sportspersons

This profession is slightly more self-explanatory. According to the ATO, deducting the cost of fitness for a professional sportsperson is allowable because earning an income in that position goes hand in hand with maintaining a very high level of physical fitness. If this fitness level cannot be maintained, employment is in jeopardy of being terminated.

 

So who cannot claim gym membership fees?

Although the ATO has acknowledged that the following professions are encouraged to maintain a high standard of general physical fitness, these professionals are NOT required to reach and maintain a fitness level WELL ABOVE average. The following professionals will therefore not be able to deduct their gym membership fees according to the ATO:

  • a model
  • a dancer
  • a physical education teacher
  • a standard police officer
  • a firefighter
  • an ambulance officer/paramedic
  • an adult industry worker
  • a fitness instructor (unless they are able to prove that they are required to maintain a fitness standard WELL ABOVE the average)
  • a personal trainer  (unless they are able to prove that they are required to maintain a fitness standard WELL ABOVE the average)

 

Are you still unsure if you can claim your gym fees as a tax deduction?

Not to worry! The ATO can easily see which occupation codes match with claiming a gym membership tax deduction. This makes it a bit impossible  for those of us without a corresponding occupation code to claim those fees but it is convenient for those who can and would like to confirm with the ATO.

 

OH! And sorry, but regardless of whether you can claim your gym membership, keep in mind that those new slim-fit yoga pants and protein powders will never be deductible on your tax return.

 

Happy Bulking!

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