Doing your tax in the time of COVID-19
With the majority of members having worked from home at some point this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, the implications for your tax return this year need to be minded carefully.
In response to the large percentage of the Australian workforce who worked from home as a result of the pandemic (and for those that continue to do so), the Australian Tax Office has developed a simplified ‘shortcut method’ where workers can elect to claim a base deduction of 80 cents per hour for work undertaken at home between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.
It is important to be aware that some employees will be financially better off using the existing ‘fixed rate’ or ‘actual cost’ method rather than the new shortcut method.
Your union memberships fees remain tax deductible, so ensure you include a statement of your fees paid for the 2019/2020 financial year.
Statements can be accessed by logging into your Member MyPage and selecting the Tax icon.
Members should always seek independent, professional financial advice and visit www.ato.gov.au/teacher20 for information on tax deductions specific for teachers, school officers and services staff.
What can I claim?
Teachers and support staff may incur expenses during the financial year and to claim a work-related reduction, the claim must meet three criteria:
- You must have spent the money yourself and you were not reimbursed;
- The deduction must be directly relating 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-relation portion.
Examples of deductions for teachers may include:
- Union and professional association fees
- Travel expenses
- Clothing expenses
- Self-education expenses
- Home office expenses
- Tools and equipment
Other examples of deductions for teachers and school officers and support staff may include:
- Expenses associated with taking students on excursions, school trips and camps
- First aid training courses
- Stationery including logbooks, diaries and pens
- Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen used for protection if you are required to work in the sun (ie sports coaching, lunch duty supervision, physical education lessons)