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Can you claim face masks, hand sanitiser on tax?

·2-min read
Face mask, person using hand sanitiser at office desk, envelope of $50 notes.
COVID-19 is rearing its ugly head again. Here's what that means for your tax. (Images: Getty).

As Sydney descends into lockdown and large parts of Australia watch the surging cases with concern, millions of Australians have stocked up on face masks and hand sanitiser.

While many workers are required to wear masks and use hand sanitiser for their work, not everyone can claim the items on tax.

“Anyone working a job requiring close proximity with customers or clients during COVID-19, they may be able to claim a deduction for items like gloves, face masks, sanitiser, antibacterial spray, things like that,” Australian Tax Office (ATO) communications director David Jepsen revealed in the latest episode of the ATO’s Tax Invoice podcast.

“This includes industries like health care, retail, and hospitality.”

In order to claim these items, you’ll need to have purchased them for use at work.

So simply buying a mask to wear to the shops or on public transport won’t cut it.

Additionally, you need to have paid for the personal protective equipment using your own money and not have been reimbursed by your employer.

Then, you need to make sure you have kept a receipt of the purchase.

What can’t I claim this tax season?

With just a few days until Australians can lodge their tax returns, the ATO also revealed the three expenses Australians keep trying - but failing - to claim.

“The most common mistakes we are seeing is people trying to claim deductions on expenses that are really no go's,” Assistant Commissioner Sally Bektas said.

“We probably have three top no go expenses. These are personal expenses like coffee, tea, and toilet paper. While they might normally be supplied by an employer, they still aren't directly related to earning income.”

The same goes for expenses for children’s education, including items like laptops and online learning courses, Bektas added.

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Image: Yahoo Finance
Image: Yahoo Finance
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