Top 10 most forgotten tax deductions
2. Donations – Donations of $2 or more to an appropriate charitable organisation is tax deductible if you have a receipt.
3. Rental Property Expenses- Many of these go unclaimed because taxpayers are not aware that they can claim them. The most forgotten deductions are: Bank Fees, gardening & lawn mowing, pest control, security patrol fees, secretarial & bookkeeping fees, travel & car expenses for rent collection, inspections of property and maintenance.
4. Income protection insurance- You are entitled to a tax deduction for insurance premiums paid against the loss of income. Remember though, that this does not include life insurance, trauma insurance or critical care insurance.
5. Home office expenses- If you use a part of your home principally or solely for work, certain costs may be claimed as a deduction including heating, cooling, lighting, depreciation of office equipment, or a professional library.
6. Medical Expenses- you are entitled to claim a tax offset of 20% for net medical expenses over $2,120. (From 2012-13, people with adjusted taxable income above the Medicare levy surcharge thresholds ($84,000 for singles and $168,000 for couples or families in 2012-13), will face an increased threshold before being able to claim).
Remember that these expenses can include payments for the following:
• to dentists, orthodontists or registered dental mechanics
• to opticians or optometrists, including for the cost of prescription spectacles or contact lenses
• to a carer who looks after a person who is blind or permanently confined to a bed or wheelchair
• for therapeutic treatment under the direction of a doctor
• for medical aids prescribed by a doctor
• for artificial limbs or eyes and hearing aids
• for maintaining a properly trained dog for guiding or assisting people with a disability (but not for social therapy)
• for laser eye surgery, and
• for treatment under an in-vitro fertilisation program.
7. Self-education expenses- If you are entitled to claim self-education expenses, i.e there is a connection between the course/education you are undertaking and your current employment, then you are entitled to a tax deduction for expenses including the following:
• textbooks, professional and trade journals
• computer expenses
• student union fees
• student services and amenities fees
• accommodation and meals, only when participating in your course requires you be away from home for one or more nights
• running expenses if you have a room set aside for self-education purposes – such as the cost of heating, cooling and lighting that room while you are studying in it
• allowable travel expenses.
8. Sun Protection- you are entitled to a tax deduction for sunglasses if, as part of your employment, you are required to work outside for prolonged periods. There is no limit on how much you can spend on sunglasses but remember that if they are more than $300 the ATO expects that they should then last for more than 12 months and therefore you have to claim the depreciation on the glasses rather than an upfront deduction.
9. Laundry expenses- If you did washing, drying or ironing yourself, you can use a reasonable basis to calculate an amount to claim as a tax deduction, for clothing that is protective clothing, part of a uniform, or occupation specific such as $1 per load for work-related clothing, or 50 cents per load if other laundry items were included.
10. Don’t forget that if you forget to include something in your tax return, you can always amend your original return.
Want more information? Etax.com.au has a deduction finder that details the average deductions claimed for 72 common occupations.