How to claim for tax deductions

How to claim for tax deductions
5 July 2019    Donnay Torr    0 comments
While tax is inevitable, getting some money back is possible. See, there are these nifty things called “tax deductions”…

Tax-deductions-101

What deductions can you claim on your tax return?

Figuring out what you can and cannot claim for can be tricky… You don’t want to claim something you’re not entitled to (‘cos the ATO will clap back HARD), but you don’t want to miss out on any valuable refund dollars by not claiming for something you should have, either.

In general, if you can answer YES to these four questions in regards to a specific expense item you want to claim for, you can likely claim the item as a tax deduction:
  1. You paid for the item yourself out of your own pocket.
  2. You were not reimbursed or paid back by your employer.
  3. You have a receipt or other evidence of the purchase.
  4. The item you purchased was for your work.

If you’re not sure, always hang on to your receipts and ask your accountant. They’ll be able to advise one way or another if a claim is allowed and make sure you’re not leaving any money behind at tax time.

So guess what you’re doing next? You’re going to research tax deductions! We’ll get you started with the list below.

Uniform expenses

No, your new A-line skirt from Sportsgirl does not count as a tax-deductable expense – unless it’s an actual part of your work uniform and has a logo on it to prove it. In which case, you can claim part of the cost back, as well as laundry expenses related to keeping your work gear clean.


These items will likely be deductions:
  • Work/ safety boots
  • Work-related hi-vis gear and safety gear
  • Work uniforms (which you are obligated to wear at work, and that have logos on them)
  • Sunglasses (for outdoor work) and general sun protection
  • Costumes (performing artists)
Find out more here.

Mobile phone expenses

Don’t get too excited: you can only claim for work-related phone calls made on your personal mobile phone, and you need to track this carefully. Learn how here.

Car expenses

If you own a car and use it for work-related travel, you’re in for loads of fun admin to make sure you can claim some of the expenses back. But the pain is worth it for all those extra dollars you’ll get! This comprehensive list will help you figure out if and how much you can claim for car expenses, and which methods to use.

Travel expenses

Gone to Bali for a break? That expense is on you. Gone to Bali ‘cos your boss told you to? And made you pay for your airfare? You might be able to claim some money back.


Travel-related expenses can include:
  • Accommodation
  • Incidental expenses
  • Air, bus, train and taxi fares
  • Bridge and road tolls
  • Parking fees
  • Car hire charges
  • Meals (if your travel included an overnight stay)
Master the basic of travel expenses here.

Self-education expenses

Good news: if you’re working AND learning new skills at the same time, you might be able to claim some of your self-education related expenses back. Neutral news: the self-education has to be related to your current profession, business or trade. So if you’re working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, but studying to become an accountant, you’re probably out of luck. Just in case, check to see if your self-education expenses might be tax deductable here.

Donations to charity

Giving to worthy causes is good for you! And it could even be good for your tax return. So if you’ve donated to the WWF, supported a crowdfunding or Kickstarter campaign for a good cause or shared some of your dollars with people in need, you might be able to claim it back – as long as the donation was to a registered deductible gift recipient (DGR). (PS: Give to charity because it can make a real difference to someone in need – not just because it’s tax deductable.) Check the Ts&Cs here.

Peer wisdom

If you’re unsure what you can and cannot claim for during tax time, it helps to know what people in similar jobs as you are claiming for. Check out the Etax.com.au team’s cool list of occupation-specific articles, which delve into examples of what you can and can’t claim, here.

Ready to tackle your tax return? Use our first time tax checklist to make things easier. And find out why you shouldn't cheat on your taxes here!

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