Tax Tips

Tax tips for employees

The following tips may help you reduce your tax liability in your tax return. Claiming all your eligible work-related deductions may save employees tax.

To do so, make sure that you have all the necessary receipts. Typical work-related expenses include employment-related phone and internet usage, computer repairs, uniforms, protective clothing, union fees and professional subscriptions.

When part of your home has been set aside primarily or exclusively for work, a home office deduction may be allowed. Typical home office costs include heating, cooling, lighting and even depreciation of your office equipment. To claim the deduction, you must have kept a diary for a representative four-week period of the hours you worked at home.

Self-education expenses can be claimed provided the study is directly related to either maintaining or improving skills or it is likely to increase your income from your current employment. Typical self-education expenses include course fees, textbooks, stationery, student union fees and the depreciation of assets such as computers and printers. However, any Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayments are not deductible.

Immediate deductions can be claimed for depreciating assets that cost under $300 to the extent the asset is used for an income-producing purpose. Such assets include tools, calculators, briefcases, computer equipment and books purchased by an employee. Equipment over $300 will need to be depreciated.

If you use your motor vehicle for work-related travel, and your annual claim for kilometres travelled does not exceed 5,000 kilometres, you can claim a deduction for your vehicle expenses on a cents per kilometre basis. If your business travel exceeds 5,000 kilometres, a log book should be kept to establish the business percentage use of the vehicle.

Tax Tips for Rental Property Owners

Landlords can claim immediate deductions for a range of expenses such as:
• interest on investment loans
• land tax
• council and water rates
• body corporate charges
• insurance
• repairs and maintenance
• agent's commission
• gardening
• pest control
• advertising for tenants
• reasonable travel to inspect properties
Landlords may be entitled to claim annual deductions for the declining value of depreciable assets (such as stoves, carpets and hot-water systems), and capital-works deductions spread over a number of years (for structural improvements, like remodeling a bathroom).

Tax File Number

Your Tax File Number is as important as a pin number on a bank account. Only supply your tax file number when required. Some examples include when opening a bank account, beginning work with a new employer, for share registries or when contacting the Australian Tax Office with an enquiry. If you need to supply documents for other reasons ensure your tax file number is deleted or obscured. This will assist in avoiding identity theft which is becoming more prevalent.

Tax Deductions for Employees

You are entitled to claim tax deductions for some expenses directly related to earning your income. If the expense was work related and private, you can only claim a deduction for the work related portion.
Some expenses can be claimed as an immediate deduction whilst others are claimed over time.
As a general rule, receipts need to be kept for five years from date of lodgement. If in doubt about whether the item is claimable, keep the receipt and we can discuss the expense when completing your return.
We have a thorough understanding of allowable deductions for a broad range of occupations and our detailed interview process may reveal expenses you did not realise were claimable.

Lodgement Dates

Generally, tax returns need to be lodged by October 31. When lodging with a registered tax agent, an extension to May 15 may be available depending on your individual circumstances.
If you are having difficulty meeting the October 31 deadline, contact us before this date and we can appoint you as a client. In most cases, this will extend your lodgement date.
Please call us to discuss your individual circumstances.

Bank Interest

People often receive amended returns for failing to include all their bank interest. Once the financial institutions have provided this information to the ATO, we are able to access the data.
To ensure your return is completed accurately, request a copy of interest earned from your financial institutions prior to your appointment with us.
This information can then be either cross referenced with ATO records or used when the ATO has not yet received the information.
Doing this can help us complete your tax return correctly.