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Money, money, money: Abba's outrageous tax secret revealed

·2-min read
Swedish supergroup Abba poses for the camera.
Abba has a particularly bedazzled way of avoiding tax. (Image: Getty).

The news that beloved Swedish band Abba has fresh music has fans around the world saying ‘Thank you for the music’, and reminiscing on Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid’s spectacular outfits.

While the spangled hotpants and sequinned minidresses are as much a part of Abba as smash hits like ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Fernando’, for the Scandinavian quartet, the song that would best represent their elaborate costumes would be ‘Money, Money, Money’.

According to Swedish tax law, the cost of costumes can be deducted against tax, provided the outfits are so flamboyant that they couldn’t be used for everyday use.

"In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those years. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were,” Björn Ulvaeus revealed in 2014 book, Abba: The Official Photo Book.

Celebrity Net Worth puts each of the four members' net worth at US$200-$300 million, or collectively as much as US$1.2 billion (AU$1.62 billion).

The Fernan-do’s and don’ts of claiming clothes on tax in Australia

The tax law is a bit different in Australia, but when all is said and done, the same rules generally apply.

You can claim a deduction for the costs required to buy, hire, repair and care for clothing, provided it is occupation-specific clothing, a uniform or protective clothing required for your job, according to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

This would include a chef’s white jacket and chequered pants, or a tradie’s high-visibility jacket. However, the blouse that an office worker wears into work would be non-tax deductible as the item isn’t occupation specific, or required for the worker’s safety.

You also need to have spent your own money to buy the garments and not have been reimbursed by your employer.

You also need to prove that you spent the money, so it’s important to keep detailed records.

Australians have until 31 October to lodge their tax returns, unless they’re using a tax return.

The ATO has so far paid out more than $5.3 billion in tax returns, with the average taxpayer receiving a $2,490 refund.

So if you’re young, sweet and stuck in quarantine, and have a dream of extra cash, now’s the time to lodge your tax return.

And if the prospect of lodging a tax return or paying a bill has you saying ‘SOS’, the ATO has dedicated services available to help.

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