With the end of financial year fast approaching, we’re all starting to think about one thing: getting money back at tax time.
And for most Australians this means frantically collecting old receipts and figuring out what we can and can’t claim.
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H&R Block’s director of tax communications, Mark Chapman, told Yahoo Finance that the general rule of thumb is, “the more strange or left field your occupation is, the stranger your tax deductions will be”.
So while some of you might know the basics, I bet you didn’t know these seven surprising things you can claim on your tax returns:
1. Musical instruments
“If you spend something as part of your business, it’s usually going to be tax deductible,” Chapman said.
That’s good news if you’re a musician or a music teacher, because this one’s for you.
Chapman says you can claim for the cost of music lessons, or even your musical instruments.
2 . Dogs
Chapman said he’s had a few people try and claim the cost of their dog, which might sound ridiculous, but it’s actually allowed.
“There are specific people who can actually do that if they’re using it in a farming business, or in a security business to patrol,” he said.
3 . Garden gnomes
If you’ve got a rental property, rest easy knowing all your garden gnomes are tax deductible.
“If you own a rental property and you’re looking to make the property attractive for people to rent, and you do some work in the garden, things like garden gnomes and water features - anything that enhances the appearance of a rental property - will either be tax deductible straight away or, if it’s an expensive item, deductible over a period of time.”
4 . Sex toys
Chapman said if you’re spending for your business, you can claim it back, which means sex toys are fair game for sex workers.
“Sex workers could claim all sorts of weird stuff you could never imagine making a tax deduction for,” Chapman said.
5 . Sunscreen
If you’re in a job that requires protective gear, Chapman said sunscreen and sunglasses are absolutely tax deductible.
If you’re in construction, you can add hard hats and steel-cap boots to that list, or a hairnet if you work in a bakery.
6 . Handbags
Chapman said it’s the perfect time of year to go shopping to take advantage of the “instant asset write-off”, which is where small businesses can purchase items or capital equipment for their business, and provided the cost of each item is under $30,000, they can instantly write it off against their tax.
But, if you’re not a small business owner, you can still purchase items needed for your line of work that cost up to $300, and claim that back instantly.
That means if you need a handbag or briefcase for work, or your job requires you wear make-up, it’s the perfect time to buy up.
7 . Your mobile phone
Something that’s commonly forgotten in tax returns is your mobile phone, which Chapman said you can claim a portion of if you use it for work purposes.
If you work from home on the weekends, Chapman said you could even look into claiming a portion of your household heating or water bills, or even the cost of your office furniture.
What you should know before you claim
“Make sure you’ve got the records to prove it.”
Chapman said before you make any claims, you should ensure you’re entitled to make the claims, and that you have the appropriate receipt or bank statement.
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