Clerical and administrative workers
If you’re an office worker it pays to learn what you can claim at tax time.
To claim a deduction for work-related expenses:
- you must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed
- it must be directly related to earning your income
- you must have a record to prove it.
You can use the ATO app myDeductions tool to keep track of your expenses and receipts throughout the year.
You can only claim the work-related part of expenses. You can’t claim a deduction for any part of the expense that relates to personal use.
You can claim a deduction when you:
- drive between separate jobs on the same day – for example, from your office job to a second job as a musician
- drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling to a different office to attend a meeting for the same employer.
You generally can’t claim the cost of trips between home and work, even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours – for example, having to work late to speak to a colleague in a different time zone.
There are limited circumstances where you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work – for example, large heavy filing boxes full of records you need for a particular meeting. The cost of these trips is deductible only if:
- your employer requires you to transport the equipment for work
- the equipment was essential to earning your income
- there was no secure area to store the equipment at the work location, and
- the equipment is bulky – at least 20 kg or cumbersome to transport.
If you claim car expenses, you need to keep a logbook to determine the work-related percentage, or be able to demonstrate to the ATO a reasonable calculation if you use the cents per kilometre method to claim.
You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your course relates directly to your current job, for example, human resource training for a manager.
You can’t claim a deduction if your study is only related in a general way or is designed to help get you a new job, for example, a health and wellbeing course.
You can claim a deduction for travel expenses if you are required to travel overnight and don’t attend your usual work location – for example, travelling to a remote office, provided the cost was incurred while carrying out your work duties. This could include meals, accommodation, fares and incidental expenses that you incurred and your employer has not provided or reimbursed you.
Receiving a travel allowance from your employer does not automatically entitle you to a deduction. You still need to show that you were away overnight, you spent the money yourself, and the travel was directly related to earning your income.
Home office expenses
You can claim a percentage of the running costs of your home office if you have to work from home, including depreciation of office equipment, work-related phone calls and internet access charges, and electricity for heating, cooling and lighting costs.
If you keep a diary of your home office usage, you can calculate your claim quickly using the home office expenses calculator.
You generally can’t claim the cost of rates, mortgage interest, rent and insurance.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, mending or cleaning certain uniforms that are unique and distinctive to your job – for example, clothing items you’re required to wear which have a logo that is unique and distinctive to your employer – or protective clothing that your employer requires you to wear.
You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it, and even if you only wear it for work, for example, a business suit.
As long as the expense relates to your employment, you can claim a deduction for the cost of seminars and conferences, technical or professional publications, union and professional association fees.
Access Carrick Aland’s tax checklists and factsheets here or call our team in Dalby, Toowoomba or Chinchilla on 07 4669 9800.