Ahead of the end of the financial year, the Australian Tax Office have released a list of deductions you probably shouldn’t claim if you don’t want to piss them off enough to investigate.

PSA: The ATO Is Cracking Down On Your Dodgy Tax Deductions This Year

This is you.

Their biggest gripe? People claiming $300 of ‘miscellaneous work expenses’; the maximum you can claim before needing to provide receipts.

“The theory is that you can claim for anything that you spend for your work,” says Mark Chapman, Director of Tax Communication at H&R Block. But to do that you have to claim for the right things and for the right amounts”.

That said, Chapman says that the whole thing may be a lil’ more of a beat-up than it appears.

[The ATO] releases statistics every year for what people are claiming. We’ve not really seen any substantial increase in work-related deductions recently.”

Of the things you can’t claim, Chapman list includes:

  • Trips between work and home
  • Everyday work clothes
  • Flat rates for cleaning and maintaining work equipment (without showing your working)
  • Self-education expenses for future employment. In this instance, “future employment” means any study that’s not directly related to your current work. In other words, just because you took that $200 screen-printing class with the intent on starting your own t-shirt empire, doesn’t mean you can claim it back on tax.

The good thing is that there’s still a heap of stuff that’s perfectly fine for you to claim as a tax deduction. That includes:

  • Union fees
  • Charitable donations over $2
  • Professional organisation fees
  • Work-related subscriptions (e.g. medical or law journals)
  • Travel during the work day (e.g. between work sites)
  • Any specialty work clothing or uniforms (e.g. Hi-Viz gear or a chef’s uniform)
  • A portion of your household bills if you work from home.

While you’re here, write down Chapman’s two golden rules for tax deductions: “If you spent something as part of your job, it’s probably tax deductible” and “You gotta have proof […] If you get a receipt or an invoice, keep a record of it.”

PSA: The ATO Is Cracking Down On Your Dodgy Tax Deductions This Year

The above article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent financial advice before making any financial decisions.

PSA: The ATO Is Cracking Down On Your Dodgy Tax Deductions This Year

Image: The Accountant