Before you toss out those scrunched up receipts at the bottom of your bag or hit delete on the e-receipts cluttering up your inbox, it may be worth having a quick think about what you can claim as a tax deduction.
Generally, anything you buy which enables you to earn an income can be claimed.
Even if you use something in both your work and personal life, you may still be able to claim a portion of it.
You should always keep receipts but you can claim up to $300 in any category without them.
Here are some of the off-beat purchases you may be able to claim on your tax return:
Yep, you read that right.
Any decorative items you buy to make your investment property look more attractive to new tenants can be deducted.
Garden gnomes, heated towel rails or clocks. If you have a lot, get a quantity surveyor to assess the value and cost. You can even deduct the surveyor’s fee.
Small business owners can claim a variety of items purchased for staff use, including gaming consoles, Foxtel subscriptions, art hung in the workplace and coffee machines.
It is also possible to claim food and other incidentals purchased while travelling for work.
If you work outside, you can claim sunscreen. You can also claim make-up if it has an SPF rating.
This doesn’t just apply just to gardeners who are outside all day. For example, the benefit could also apply to teachers who perform yard duty.
There are guidelines on claiming bags, which includes briefcases, satchels or backpacks.
Of course, trying to claim the full cost of that classic Louis Vuitton tote may get you some unwanted attention.
You will need to use the bag for carrying work items and possibly apportion some of the cost for private use.
You can see what other people in your job claim on their tax deductions with our tax interactive:
Personal phone and electricity bills
If you use your personal phone, or work from home sometimes, you can claim a portion of your home utility bills.
For electricity, you can claim 45c per hour that you work at home.
Education must be related to current paid employment, including self-employment.
You can claim travel and other expenses related to the courses.
Education can even include things like vocal coaching for singers, even if it’s between gigs.
Advice and insurance
You may be able to claim fees paid for specific investment advice, financial planning advice or the cost of attending investment seminars. It’s also possible to claim income protection insurance and insurance on an income-producing asset.
A tax accountant can ensure you’re getting the most out of your tax return and their fees are tax deductible.
You can claim the cost of travelling to see your accountant and fees for preparing and lodging your tax return, as well as a range of other costs associated with managing your tax affairs.
Items related to specific jobs are a bit more obvious but here is some insight into how some of the rules might work for you.
Fitness and fashion
You may be able to claim your gym membership, if your job requires a high level of physical fitness and strength.
Flight attendants and crew have some unique specialty claims, including re hydrating moisturisers, stockings and a second pair of shoes.
The basic rule when it comes to clothing and accessories is that the items need to be part of a compulsory uniform and required for your job.
You can also claim some of the cost of laundering your work uniforms.
Actors can claim stage make-up and hair salon fees if maintaining a certain style for a job.
They can also claim costs incurred in performing their roles, such as musical instruments, audio equipment and theatre tickets – if the content is directly related to your job.
Most people would rather do anything than spend more time thinking about their tax return, but thinking a little harder about what you can claim could really pay off.
The Australian Taxation Office is big but it has great data analytics, so you can’t fly under the radar as easily as you might think.
It’s best to consult with accountant if you plan on making some of the more unique claims.
Remember, their fees are tax deductible, so there’s no excuse!