With tax time around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the last minute purchases that you can claim back in your tax return.
From tools and work clothes to handbags and your next petrol refill, here is a list of some of the things the tax man will reimburse you this financial year.
What you can – and can’t – claim
Just because you work for someone else does not mean you can't claim back certain expenses as part of doing your job.
According to the ATO, to claim a deduction for a work-related expense:
you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
the expenses must directly relate to earning your income
If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you only claim a deduction for the work-related part.
So, if you travel for work you can only claim back travel expenses for doing your job. You can’t claim the expenses you incurred when you took a detour to a friend's birthday party, for example.
Likewise, if your employer has paid you back you can’t make the claim either. So, if you were on a work trip and your work has already reimbursed you for petrol, the hotel room, meals etc you can’t then also claim those expenses back.
Keep in mind, if the ATO thinks your employer may have reimbursed you they can contact your work and ask – so you need to be honest.
Here are some things you can buy now and claim later.
Vehicle and travel expenses
If your tank is about to hit empty because you’ve been moving around for work, the time to fill up is now.
Transport expenses can include the cost of:
driving your car, ute, van or motorcycle
ride-share and ride-sourcing (such as Uber)
catching a train, taxi, boat, bus or other vehicle
Transport expenses also include the actual costs you incur – for example, fuel expenses, when you use someone else's car or other vehicle.
Keep in mind, you can only claim for travel expenses during the regular course of work so you can’t make a claim for your daily commute.
Clothing, laundry and uniforms
If your old work uniform is looking a little worse for wear, now is the time to buy yourself a fresh set.
You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur to buy, hire, or repair clothing (and footwear) if it falls within one of these categories:
You can also claim a deduction for the costs you incur to clean or dry-clean work clothing. But you will need written evidence that can prove you bought the clothes, the amount you spent and the cleaning costs.
However, the ATO warns you cannot claim or “conventional clothing” you buy for work.
'Conventional clothing’ is everyday clothing worn by people regardless of their occupation. So, things like business attire worn by office workers or jeans or drill shirts worn by tradespeople.
Tools and handbags
Is your work handbag falling apart? Or do your tools need upgrading? Head to the shops before the month is up, because you can claim those back too.
You can claim a deduction for some or all of the cost of tools, equipment and other assets you buy and use as part of your job.
If you use the tools for both work and private purposes, you can only claim for your work-related use of the item.
The type of deduction you can claim depends on how much what you’re buying costs.
If it’s $300 or less you can claim a deduction for the full amount so long as you bought it within the same financial year that you’re claiming it. So, you can’t make a claim for a handbag you bought two years ago.
You also can only make the claim so long as you use it for mostly work purposes, and it’s not part of a set that together exceeds $300.
For example, if you buy a whole new tool set for $400, you can’t just claim all of it except the drill to bring it down to $300.