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Personal finance expert outlines the surprising things you can claim as tax deductions 

Brisbane-based finance expert Helen Baker (pictured) reveals exactly what can be claimed at tax-time

With the end of financial year just weeks away, a personal finance expert has outlined the surprising things that can be claimed as tax deductions – including garden gnomes, gaming consoles and handbags.

Australians are being warned not to toss out receipts for bizarre items, as Brisbane-based finance expert Helen Baker reveals exactly what can be claimed at tax time.

Ms Baker said generally anything people purchase that enables them to earn an income can be claimed, including regular everyday products.

From coffee machines, gym memberships to even skincare products, Ms Baker has outlined what can be claimed to get some extra cash come July 1.

Australians are being warned not to toss out receipts for bizarre items such as Garden Gnomes (stock image)

Australians are being warned not to toss out receipts for bizarre items such as Garden Gnomes (stock image) 

Garden gnomes

Any decorative items purchased to make an investment property look more attractive to new tenants can be deducted at tax-time.

‘Garden gnomes, heated towel rails or even clocks,’ Ms Baker said.

If there are lots of items purchased over the last year, there’s also the option of getting a surveyor to assess the value and cost – and then deducting the surveyor’s fee, too.

Gaming consoles

Small business owners can claim a multitude of items purchased for staff use or entertainment.

SURPRISING THINGS THAT CAN BE CLAIMED ON TAX:

  • Garden Gnomes
  • Gaming Consoles
  • Entertainment
  • Makeup with SPF
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Handbags
  • Hair straighteners 
  • Subscriptions 
  • Phone and internet bills  
  • Pool tables, ping pong tables, gaming consoles and TV
  • Artworks
  • Donations 

‘Including gaming consoles, Foxtel surpscriptions, art hung in the workplace and coffee machines,’ Ms Baker said.

Anything found in rooms for staff to unwind and relax with colleagues on breaks, such as pool tables, ping pong tables and television screens can be claimed. 

If travelling for work, employees can also claim the food purchased and other incidentals bought while on the trip.

Work-related subscriptions to magazines and newspapers can also be claimed at tax-time, while those working in the media industry can claim a deducation for pay-TV subscriptions.

These include Netflix and Stan if it can be proven they are required to use them for work.  

Office decorations such as artworks displayed in public areas such as office reception can also be claimed. 

Small business owners can claim a multitude of items purchased for staff use or entertainment (stock image)

Small business owners can claim a multitude of items purchased for staff use or entertainment (stock image)

People can claim products such as coffee machines (pictured) as tax-deductible items come July 1 (stock image)

People can claim products such as coffee machines (pictured) as tax-deductible items come July 1 (stock image)

Handbags

While there are guidelines on claiming bags such as breiefcases, satchels or backpacks, those used for work can be claimed come July 1.

‘Of course, trying to claim the full cost of that classic Louis Vuitton tote may get you some unwanted attention,’ Ms Baker said.

‘You will need to use the bag for carrying work items and possibly apportion some of the cost for private use.’

The bags must carry work-related items such as iPads, calculators, stationery, diaries or laptop. 

While there are guidelines on claiming bags such as breiefcases, satchels or backpacks, those used for work can be claimed come July 1 (stock image)

While there are guidelines on claiming bags such as breiefcases, satchels or backpacks, those used for work can be claimed come July 1 (stock image)

Sunscreen

For those who work outside, sunscreen, make-up and other products with SPF can be claimed.

‘This doesn’t just apply to gardeners who are outside all day; this benefit could apply to teachers who do yard duty,’ Ms Baker said.

Even those who drive a lot or are under fluorescent lights can claim products with protection in them.

While prescription glasses can’t be claimed because they’re a private expense, sunglasses can be claimed.

With the end of financial year just weeks away, a personal finance expert has outlined the surprising things that can be claimed as tax deductions including sunscreen (stock image)

With the end of financial year just weeks away, a personal finance expert has outlined the surprising things that can be claimed as tax deductions including sunscreen (stock image)

Hair straighteners

Hairdressers and beauty therapists can also claim deductions for the cost of tools and equipment they use for work.

Hair cutting and styling tools can be claimed, as well as GHD products, Hair Expro and subscriptions with fashion magazines. 

Education and professional development

In order to claim education it must be related to current paid employment, including self-employment.

‘You can claim the travel and other expenses related to the courses,’ Ms Baker said.

‘Education can include things like vocal coaching for singers, even if it’s between gigs.’

Deductions can’t be claimed if the study is only related to work in a general way or is designed to help get a new job in a different profession. 

In order to claim education it must be related to current paid employment, including self-employment (stock image)

In order to claim education it must be related to current paid employment, including self-employment (stock image)

Personal phone and electricity bills

For those who work from home or take work home with them, there are multiple things that can be claimed on tax.

Many people who use their personal phone for work or work from home, it can be claimed as a portion of the home utility bills.

‘For electricity, you can claim 45 cents per hour that you work at home,’ Ms Baker said.

Employees who work from home can also claim back on computer consumables, including printer paper, ink and stationery.  

Fitness and fashion 

If a job requires a high level of physical fitness and strength, gym memberships can be claimed back on tax.

‘You can also claim some of the cost of laundering your work uniforms,’ Ms Baker said.

Deductions can be claimed for the cost of buying, hiring, mending or cleaning certain uniforms required for work.

If a job requires a high level of physical fitness and strength, gym memberships can be claimed back on tax (stock image)

If a job requires a high level of physical fitness and strength, gym memberships can be claimed back on tax (stock image)

Car expenses

The cost of using a car when driving between separate jobs can be claimed at tax-time, with the use of a logbook to work out the percentage of what can be claimed.

Donations

Charitable donations are most often tax-deductible, but can only be claimed for certain organisations.

Donations such as raffle tickets, fundraising dinners or events, membership fees, payments to school funds and chocolates or pens cannot be claimed.

Ms Baker said while many people would rather do anything other than spend time thinking about taxes, spending a little more time thinking about what can be claimed can usually 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,’ she said.

‘It’s best to consult with your accountant if you plan on making some more unique claims. Remember, Accountant fees are tax deductible so there’s no excuse!’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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