Frequently Asked Question’s
As an accountant, and apparently if you are the partner of an accountant, there are several questions that keep getting asked. Here are some quick shot topics** to open the conversation and hopefully clear some of these up:
What is this post code offset thing?
The government entitles a tax offset to people that live in remote areas, this is known as the Zone Offset and is based on the postcode of your main residence.
The rules were changed from taxpayers being able to include ‘day trips’ to other zone areas to make up the maximum 183 days in a zone to claim the offset.
These rules have been ‘simplified’. Tax payers MUST reside in the zone for at least 183 days of the tax year to claim the offset. To substantiate this claim, proof of residence may be required if requested by the ATO.
FIFO locations are not entitled to the offset, as these circumstances do not meet the required residency test.
I use my own car for work, can I claim for that?
This is an area the ATO pays close attention to, so if you’re thinking of making a claim this year, here are a few things you might want to consider first:
To claim motor vehicle expenses, you will need to have done the travel as part of your job and be able to show how you calculated the work-related use of your vehicle.
- Driving from home to work is almost always NOT deductible.
- One exception to this is where you have no other choice but to carry heavy or bulky tools that you need to perform your job.
- However this is not as straight forward as it seems. Where your employer provides sufficient storage for your tools, the ATO will likely form the view that even though the storage is not fully secured, the storage will likely be sufficient and the transporting of tools each day will be a personal choice.
- Be able to prove your claim
- Keep records of the regular travel that you undertake for work
- Ensure your employer will confirm that you use your own motor vehicle for work (many claims that get reviewed by the ATO get dismissed because the employer can not support the work use claim of the tax payer)
What’s the most I can claim without receipts?
While the ATO states that total deductions to the value of $300 do not need to have receipts, you should be able to state how you determined every single deduction claimed in your tax return. For deductions that total above $300, all MUST be able to be substantiated with written evidence.
What can I claim for my job?
The ATO have developed deduction checklists that may be specific to your occupation, for examples, choose your occupation from the list below:
In a nutshell…
Well peeps, you do not get much of anything for nothing…especially tax deductions.
The best tip I can give you, keep receipts for everything you purchase that is related to your work, and have a chat with Wall Business Services if you have any questions.
If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion. Work expenses reimbursed to you by your employer are not deductible in your personal income tax return. The ATO can seek information from your employer if they suspect you have claimed a deduction for an expense for which you have already been reimbursed.
**this is general advice only, please discuss with your tax agent deductions available for your own situation.
– Karen Patterson