It’s tax time – What work-related expenses can you claim?
Lodging your tax return is easier when you know what you can or can’t claim as a deduction.
Teaching and educational support staff incur many expenses throughout the financial year which can be claimed as a deduction, but these can be tricky to navigate.
The Australian Taxation Office has a comprehensive guide to teaching related expenses that can or cannot be claimed at tax time.
When claiming work-related deductions, it must satisfy three conditions:
· You must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed;
· It must be directly related to earning your income; and
· You must have a record to prove it.
If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.
Deductions for teachers may include:
· Union and professional association fees
· Travel expenses
· Clothing expenses
· Self-education expenses
· Home office expenses
· Tools and equipment
Union fees are tax deductable and IEUA-QNT members should ensure these are claimed when completing tax returns.
Other deductions for teachers and education support staff
Costs associated with taking students on excursions, school trips and camps can be claimed as a deduction when these trips have an educational benefit related to the curriculum or extracurricular activities of the school.
For example, a science teacher accompanying a class excursion to study coastal ecosystems.
First aid training courses can be claimed as a deduction when first aid training is required to assist in emergency work situations.
The cost of logbooks, diaries and pens can be claimed if used for work and have not been reimbursed.
If you are required to work in the sun and items such as sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions are used as protection, the associated costs can be deducted.
For example, if you coach outdoor sporting teams in addition to teaching duties.
Quick Tips from the ATO
You are accountable for the claims you make in your tax return, even if you use a registered tax agent to prepare and lodge it on your behalf.
There’s no such thing as a standard deduction – this is a myth.
There’s no ‘safe’ level to claim a deduction where you haven’t spent the money or it’s not related to earning your income.
Make sure you have records to prove your claims.
The best time to lodge your tax return is mid-August, when all financial information the ATO receives from employers, banks, government agencies and more, will be pre-filled.
You must also remember to declare all income when lodging your tax return.
For more information or to download the Teachers Work-Related Expense Guide go to www.ato.gov.au/teacher