Tax time tips


Tax season: five things you may be able to claim this year

It is almost time to lodge your annual tax return. Here are a handful of deductions you may be able to claim to lift your refund, depending on the work you do.

With the end of the financial year upon us, many of us are thinking about how we can boost our annual tax refund.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) reports that millions of Australians receive money back each year, with some having thousands returned to their accounts.

A refund is offered when the amount of tax you paid throughout the year exceeds the amount owed, based on your marginal rate.

Claiming the right work-related items can help lift your chances of getting a bumper refund this year. Here are five items you may be able to claim, depending on your work circumstances.

  1. COVID-19 tests

The pandemic has been lingering for the past few years, but many of us are now back in the office.

If you have had to buy and take a COVID-19 test – such as a Rapid Antigen Test – to determine whether or not you can go to work, you may be able to claim a deduction.

  1. Course and tuition fees to boost your income in your current role

If you have enrolled in a course that is directly related to boosting your income, you may be able to claim a deduction.

To make the claim, you must take a course related to your current role, not a future role. For example, if you would like to be a doctor, but work as a nurse now, you cannot claim expenses related to becoming a doctor.

  1. Phone or internet use for work

If you use your own phone or internet for work, you may be able to claim a deduction. However, you can claim only for the proportion of time you use the device for work. For example, if 10 per cent of the phone calls you make are for work, you can claim 10 per cent of your phone bill – provided your employer does not reimburse you.

  1. Your handbag or briefcase

If you have bought a handbag or briefcase to carry work items to the office, you may be able to claim a deduction.

However, you cannot make the claim if you use the bag primarily for personal use – such as to carry your lunch. It has to store other work-related items, such as your laptop or diary.

  1. Sunscreens or sunglasses if you work outside

If your job requires you to be exposed to the elements, you may be able to claim part of the cost of sunscreen and sunglasses.

If you also use them on the weekend, you may have to keep a diary that shows how often you used the items for work and how often for personal outings.

Some things to remember

To claim a tax deduction, you will generally need the following:

  1. A tax receipt
  2. To have paid for the item yourself without being reimbursed by your employer
  3. To have genuinely used the item for work.

If you have any questions, you can always refer to the deductions section of the ATO website or speak to a tax professional.


Important notes

The advice on this website is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice. 

The content in this article was provided by COBA.

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