Teachers, it’s tax time! Perhaps you’re a diligent number cruncher and have already lodged your return (you superstar!). If you haven’t yet, never fear! Teach Starter’s resident financial planner and analyst Kath has come to the rescue with some top tax tips for you, teachers!
Here are Kath’s top 5 work-related expenses that are tax-deductible for teachers, some especially relevant this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Disclaimer: Information contained in this article is of a general nature only and should not be construed as providing tax, legal, financial or accounting advice on any of the topics discussed. Please consult with your financial and/or tax advisor(s) before making any decisions.
Are Your Work-Related Expenses Tax Deductible?
But before we start, you’ll need to ensure your work-related deductions qualify as such.
Always check if your expense fits these 3 criteria:
- You spent the money yourself and you weren’t reimbursed for it,
- The expense directly relates to earning your income (if the expense was for both work and private purposes, you only claim a deduction for the work-related part), and
- You have a record to prove it (usually a receipt).
Top 5 Deductible Work-Related Expenses for Teachers
1. Working from home expenses
There are several methods you can use to work out your home office expenses. The methods you can use depend on your circumstances, but you must meet the record-keeping requirements and working criteria to use each method.
Due to COVID-19, the ATO has introduced a temporary shortcut method (only available from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021), which simplifies how you calculate your deduction for working from home expenses.
Using this method, you can claim 80 cents per hour for each hour you work from home– but you need to keep a record of your work hours (which may be in the form of timesheets, diary notes, or rosters).
This simple method covers ALL working from home expenses, so if you use this method, you can’t claim any other expenses for working from home, even if you bought new equipment.
Read more about claiming home office expenses on the ATO website.
2. Cost of managing tax affairs
You can claim a deduction for expenses you incur in managing your own tax affairs, such as the cost to lodge through a registered agent. You generally incur the fees in the year you pay them, so remember to keep your receipt for the following financial year!
3. Personal protective equipment during COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be able to claim a deduction for the cost of buying a face mask to wear at work if:
- your employment duties require you and other employees to be at your place of work
- a face mask is not provided to you by your employer, and
- you need to wear a mask (this is likely to be the case where your duties bring you in close contact with other people, including clients, customers or work colleagues).
4. Seminars, conferences and training courses
You can claim the cost of attending seminars, conferences, or training courses to maintain or increase the knowledge, capabilities, or skills you need to earn your income in your current employment.
Professional development courses, webinars and conferences would all be included in this category for teachers.
You may also claim your Teacher Registration fee renewal.
5. Books, periodicals and digital information
Last, but not least, you can claim a deduction for books, periodicals and digital information you use as part of earning your employment income if you incur the expense. So claim those subscription services, teachers! If you pay annual subscriptions for resources or development, don’t forget to claim for those.
Books and periodicals may include library subscriptions, academic journals, technical journals, reference books and similar.
Digital information services may include online subscriptions, electronic material, such as e-books or e-journals and other digital materials you buy.