If you have a habit of flicking your tax return off without too much thought to deductions, in the blind hope you’ll get some cash back, you’re not alone.
Research has found this sort of slap-dash approach to tax time is commonplace among complacent Australians, with young adults making up the majority of those under-claiming on their tax returns.
In a nutshell, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on free money.
Officeworks surveyed 1,000 working Australians and found that more than half aren’t getting their fair share from the tax man.
The survey revealed that 59 per cent of 18-24 year olds and 45 per cent of 25-34 year olds only claimed up to the threshold accepted without a tax invoice, instead of the actual amount incurred for an expense.
Not only that, but over a third of respondents were unaware that petrol can be claimed, 28 per cent didn’t know stationery is deductible and 34 per cent thought the costs of dry cleaning a uniforms wasn’t tax deductible.
Of course, petrol can be claimed, as can stationary and uniform cleaning costs. All this begs the question, what other worthy deductions are you missing out on?
Here are three common deductions you might be able to claim.
Home office costs
If you do some work from home, there are a stack of deductions that you may be able to claim. Things like office furniture, stationery, software, and even running costs like utilities, phone bills and insurances all fall under the umbrella.
Vehicle and travel expenses
While normal trips between home and work are considered private travel, you can claim deductions in some circumstances, as well as for some travel between two workplaces.
You can even claim travel expenses you incurred for meals, accommodation and incidentals while away overnight for work (but hopefully your boss picks up the tab for you).
You may be able to claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your study is work-related. So, if you do a course to obtain a formal qualification from a school, college, university or other place of education that is relevant for your current employment, you’re on here.
The ATO’s basic rules for claiming a deduction are that you:
- must claim the deduction in the same income year that you made the purchase
- can’t claim an expense that you have been, or will be, reimbursed for
- may have to substantiate your claims with written evidence.
Here’s the ATO’s bible of deductions so you can dig into your situation a little further.
Alternatively, if you think you’re missing out but still can’t be stuffed doing to work, it might be time to find a tax agent or accountant to do the digging for you.