The things you can claim tax on as a teacher.
As a result of the limits imposed by COVID-19, many teachers now conduct their classes online. When instructors work from home, they are eligible to get reimbursement for certain expenditures.
This year, we anticipate seeing an increase in the number of claims that involve working from home.
However, we would like to remind teachers to check any other claims that they may be making to ensure that they are not claiming for expenses that they are not incurring while working from home, such as supplies for the classroom.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has introduced a new shortcut way to assess the additional costs of working from home, with the goal of providing assistance to those who are working from home for the period beginning on March 1, 2020, and ending on June 30, 2020.
People, including teachers, who are suffering some type of expense as a result of working from home due to COVID-19 are able to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour worked at home thanks to the new shortcut technique.
This rate applies only to hours worked from home. In order to submit a claim using this strategy, you will need to maintain a log of the hours you spent working from home. A timesheet or a diary could be used for this purpose.
Purchasing items for the classroom is an example of a work-related daily expense that can be deducted from your paycheck.
A sizeable portion of instructors spend their own money on supplies for the classroom as well as on goods for their own children and other students. Is there any chance that they may receive even some of that money back?
Unfortunately, teachers are not allowed to take a tax deduction for the cost of presents they purchase for their pupils or for helping them meet their financial obligations, such as paying for their meals.
On the other hand, teachers are able to deduct from their taxable income the amount of money they spend on items for the classroom that are directly tied to the responsibilities that come with their job. You could find it beneficial to include items such as pens, markers, stamps, paint, stationery, posters, maps, storybooks, and prizes on a list of prospective classroom resources. These items can be used to motivate and reward pupils.
The claimed amount will need to be divided in such a way that each use receives an appropriate share of the total, if the item is used for both personal and professional purposes.
Work-Related Travel Expenses
What you can claim
Because the cost of your typical commute between your home and place of employment is regarded as a personal expense, you will not be able to deduct that cost from the amount of income that is subject to taxation. On the other hand, if you are an employee teacher, there are a few situations in which you might be eligible to claim deductions for travel expenses between your home and your place of employment. If this is the case for you, you can look into the specifics of your situation by consulting with a tax professional.
Transporting students or bulky equipment
If you are required to transport either of the following, you may be able to submit a claim for reimbursement of the costs associated with driving between your home and your place of employment using your own vehicle:
- bringing youngsters somewhere, like a sporting event
- bulky tools that you needed to utilise for work but couldn’t safely store at your place of employment.
Travelling between separate workplaces
Car and travel expenses for work include not only the cost of travelling to and from a single workplace but also the cost of travelling directly between two distinct workplaces, such as when you have two jobs.
Travel to a different location of employment
Car and travel expenses used for business purposes also include the following costs:
- while you are still on duty, from your regular place of employment to a different one, and then directly home or back to your regular place of employment
- from your house to a different location of employment, then back to your regular place of employment or straight home
Daily travel costs for work you cannot claim
Because the cost of your normal commute between your home and place of employment is regarded as a personal expense, it is not possible to deduct that cost from your taxes under any circumstances, including the following examples:
- On the way to work or back home, you perform errands of lesser importance, such as picking up the mail.
- Multiple trips back and forth between your house and place of employment are required of you on a daily basis; for instance, you might drive home at the end of the school day, only to turn around and drive back to the office in the evening so that you can attend a speech night at the school.
- you are on call, for example, because you are on stand-by for a relief teaching position, and your boss calls you at your house to tell you to report to work.
- you put in effort outside of the typical hours of operation; for instance, you may conduct parent-teacher interviews after regular business hours have ended.
- in school during the summer vacation, getting ready for the upcoming academic year.
The vehicle that your employer or any other person provided
You are not able to claim a deduction for the expenses associated with owning and operating a vehicle if you are given an automobile by someone else, including your employer, even if you do not pay for any of the operating costs associated with the car.
You are not permitted to take a deduction for any expenditures that you incur for the direct operation of an automobile that is provided to you by your employer and that you or any of your relatives use privately at any time. This is the case even if the expenses are related to work. This is due to the fact that such costs are factored into the valuation of the car for the purposes of calculating the tax on fringe benefits.
You are not eligible for a deduction on your taxes for the money you spend travelling to the location of another company in order to participate in a social function hosted by that business.
You are not permitted to deduct any fees or fines that have been imposed on you, including those that were given to you for infractions such as speeding or parking violations.
How to submit a claim for daily mileage related to employment
Your ability to compute your claims and the kind of records you are needed to keep will be impacted by a number of circumstances, including whether or not the motor vehicle you use is considered a car, as well as whether or not you own or lease the vehicle.
Claiming car expenses
If the motor vehicle you drive is a car, and if you are eligible to claim a deduction for your work-related automobile expenditures, you have two options to select from in order to calculate the amount that you are eligible to claim, depending on the type of car you drive.
The two methods are:
- Cents per kilometre
If you use the logbook method to calculate your taxes, you can take a deduction for the amount that your car’s value has decreased (also known as depreciation), up to the value of the car limit.
Cents per kilometre method
If you have travelled more than 5,000 kilometres for work, you can still use this approach to claim a maximum of 5,000 kilometres for work as a deduction for your travel expenditures. This applies even if you have travelled more than 5,000 kilometres for work. For instance, if you have travelled a total of 5,085 kilometres for work, you are not eligible to file a claim for the remaining 85 kilometres driven since you have already reached the maximum mileage allowed.
When calculating your deduction using the cents-per-kilometre approach, you do not need receipts or any other written evidence; however, we may ask you how you estimated the number of work kilometres you travelled in order to determine how accurate your deduction is. As an illustration, by:
- using a diary of work-related travel
- basing your costs on a regular pattern of travel.
HOME OFFICE EXPENSES
What you can claim
Even if the space is not designated exclusively for work-related activities, you may be eligible to deduct the expenditures associated with maintaining your home office if you conduct some of your business there. This is due to the fact that you are deemed to be working from your home office if you complete some of your job there.
You could be eligible to make a claim for:
- depreciation is the process by which the value of home office equipment, such as computers and telecommunications equipment, decreases over time. If the cost of your equipment is less than $300, you are eligible to take a complete deduction for the portion that is work-related.
- calls connected to your job, including calls made from your mobile device to kids on a regular basis while you are away from your place of employment — for instance, you may call the parents of your students to discuss behavioural issues.
- expenses incurred for accessing the internet connection to work
- the amount of money that you have to spend on heating, cooling, and lighting your home office in addition to the amount of money that you would normally have to spend if you did not work from home.
- the expenditures associated with repairing the furnishings and fixtures in your home office
It is reasonable to anticipate that the value of an item that has a finite useful life, such as a computer, will decrease throughout the course of the period that it is in use. This type of asset is known as a depreciating asset.
If you buy something that costs more than $300, the only deduction you can take for it is the amount that it has decreased in value since you bought it.
What you cannot claim
The payment of rent, the payment of interest on a mortgage, the payment of council rates, and the payment of payments for homeowners insurance are all examples of occupancy expenses.
If the government does not consider your home office to be a place of business, then you will not be able to deduct any expenses related to the occupation of the space.
If the only income you receive is the wage that you receive from your employment, it is quite unlikely that you will be able to claim a deduction for the costs associated with your place of residence.
Which documents you are required to retain and why
What specific forms of evidence are the ATO demanding that teachers preserve as part of the record-keeping requirements? Do you need to keep a record of each and every claim, regardless of how little they may seem?
Teachers are not required to keep receipts for expenses of $10 or less for which they have made claims, as long as the total amount claimed for expenses of this sort is less than $200. Expenses that are claimed for more than $10 but less than $200 do not count towards this total. They will, however, need to keep a record of everything in order to be eligible for a deduction of any kind. For example, they could keep a record of it by writing it down in a journal so that they can refer back to it later.
For further information regarding the circumstances under which a teacher is exempt from the requirement to preserve receipts for overtime meals and overnight travel expenses, including housing and meals, please refer to the information on record-keeping that is available on the website of the ATO. This information is available in order to provide further details regarding the circumstances under which a teacher is exempt from the requirement to preserve receipts.
The Deduction feature found in the ATO’s App is a handy record-keeping tool that may be utilised for expenses for which the instructor is required to keep a record for the sake of complying with tax regulations.
In conclusion, in terms of record-keeping, what pieces of advice can you provide educators for the following year that, if followed, will make the method simpler the following time it is carried out?
Developing your claim
You have the option of claiming a deduction for the quantity of gas and energy you utilise in addition to the decline in value of your office furniture by claiming either of the two choices that are presented in the following sentence:
- a write-off for all of the money you really spent
- a deduction you calculate at the hourly rate of 45 cents.
You will need to keep a diary in which you record the amount of time you spend working from your home office in order to make a claim using the 45 cents per hour method. This is required in order to make a claim using this method. A minimum of four weeks’ worth of information that is representative of the full year needs to be displayed in the diary in order to generate a pattern of use that can be applied to the entire year.
In the event that the government gives you a laptop absolutely free of charge as part of an initiative, you will not be permitted to claim a tax deduction related to the cost of the laptop. This is because you have not yet committed to really paying for the expense out of your own pocket.
If you are an employee and incur expenses for a uniform, work-specific clothing, protective equipment, washing, or dry cleaning related to your employment, you may be entitled to claim a deduction for such expenses.
You are eligible to take a tax deduction for the money you spend on certain work-related uniforms or protective apparel, whether you buy it, rent it, fix it, or clean it.
Even if your company requires you to wear a plain uniform or other traditional clothing at work, you are not allowed to deduct the cost of acquiring or washing that clothing because it is considered a private expense and therefore cannot be deducted. This includes money spent on things like:
sports clothes – for example, tracksuits, T-shirts, aerobics clothing, swimming costumes, shorts, socks and running or aerobic shoes – even if you are a physical education teacher
- clothing that you have to wear for medical reasons – for example, support stockings
- conventional clothing that is damaged at work
- everyday footwear – for example, dress, casual or running shoes.
If your employer-provided you with clothes, uniform, laundry, or dry-cleaning allowance, this does not mean that you are eligible to automatically claim a tax deduction.
You are not allowed to make a claim for costs that were paid for or reimbursed by the school.
A compulsory uniform is a set of clothing that, when worn together, identifies you as an employee of an organisation that has a policy that forces you to wear the uniform while you are at work. This policy must be vigorously enforced in order for the policy to be considered a compulsory uniform. Because of this policy, all employees are required to dress in accordance with the dress code at all times while they are on the job.
If your employer has a uniform policy that specifies the characteristics (colour, style, and type) that must be adhered to by the uniforms worn by employees, you may be eligible for a deduction for shoes, socks, and stockings if these items are required to be worn as part of a recognisable and mandatory uniform and your employer’s uniform policy outlines the characteristics that must be adhered to by the uniforms worn by employees.
It is essential that the demand that employees always wear the designated uniform be strictly enforced.
Before you are able to make a claim for a deduction, the style of the uniform that your employer has asked you to wear in order to satisfy their request that you do so must first be registered. This is necessary in order for you to be qualified to do so. This is the case regardless of whether or not your company requires you to dress in a uniform for work.
Single items of compulsory clothing
If you are compelled to wear a certain item of identifying apparel at work, such as a sweater or tie, you may be qualified to make a claim for reimbursement of the costs associated with purchasing that item. In most instances, clothing is regarded to be distinctive if it does not become available to the general public and if it has the employer’s logo permanently applied to it. This is in addition to the fact that the clothing does not become available to the general public.
Non-compulsory uniforms or corporate wardrobe
Imagine that your employer needs or encourages you to wear a unique uniform or corporate wardrobe but does not consistently enforce the wearing of it.
This would be considered a paradoxical situation. If this is the case, the only way you will be able to deduct the price of the clothing from your taxes is if the design of the apparel is registered.
Because stockings, socks, and shoes are not allowed to be recorded as part of a non-compulsory uniform, if you wear a corporate wardrobe or a non-compulsory uniform, you will not be able to make a claim for stockings, socks, or shoes.
If you ask your company, they will be able to inform you whether or not your corporate wardrobe or optional uniform is registered.
You may be able to deduct from your taxable income the amount of money that you spend on purchasing, renting, replacing, or maintaining protective clothing and equipment.
Protective clothing is clothing that you wear to protect yourself from the risk of becoming ill or injured as a result of the activities that you engage in to make a living or the environment in which you are required to carry out those activities. This risk can be posed by the activities themselves or by the environment in which you are required to carry them out.
A taxpayer is allowed to make a claim for a deduction for the expense of clothing that is used specifically for the purpose of protecting the taxpayer’s normal clothing from being dirty or damaged while the taxpayer is performing work-related activities. Lab coats and artist smocks are two examples of this kind of garments that are commonly worn.
Laundry and dry-cleaning
You may be eligible to deduct the expense of having your work clothes laundered and dry cleaned from your taxable income if the clothes you wear to work fit into one of the categories described on this page, and if you pay to have the clothes cleaned in this manner (compulsory uniforms, single items of compulsory clothing, non-compulsory uniforms or corporate wardrobe, and protective clothing).
For instance, if your employer provides you with a uniform that you are obligated to wear while performing your job responsibilities, the expense of having that uniform cleaned can potentially be deducted from your taxable income.
Laundry costs, such as those expended at the laundromat, for washing, drying, or ironing work clothes are eligible for reimbursement, and you are entitled to lodge a claim for them.
If your claim for laundry expenses is less than $150, you are not obliged to produce written evidence; rather, you are entitled to use a reasonable premise as the foundation for your claim. If your claim for laundry expenses is more than $150, you are required to show written evidence.
Take into consideration the following possibility: You have a total claim for work-related expenses that exceeds $300; however, you do claim a deduction for laundry expenses that totals more than $150. These expenses are not included in a car, food allowance, award transport allowance, or travel allowance charges.
In this instance, you are going to require substantiating evidence in the form of written materials to back up the entirety of your claim. You are permitted to submit a claim for reimbursement of the money spent having your work clothing dried and cleaned if you have kept any written proof that may be used to validate your claim.
There is no requirement for you to present any written evidence if the entire amount of your claim for work-related costs is less than $300.
Other common expenses
When it comes to filing taxes, what are some of the more frequent costs that instructors might claim?
The use of a teacher’s personal phone for work-related purposes and the costs of maintaining a home office for work-related purposes are two examples of the kinds of frequent work-related expenses that may qualify for a tax credit (including internet).
If they were required to pay for field excursions and school camps that had educational value related to the curriculum, first aid classes if they were the designated first aider, or seminars relevant to their work as a teacher or education professional, they might be qualified to claim a deduction. The field trip or school camp must provide educational value that is connected to the curriculum in order to be eligible for this deduction.
They may also be able to file a claim for teaching aids, union and professional fees, as well as protective gear like sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun hats that they use while they are working to shield themselves from the risk of illness or injury because their jobs require them to spend a lot of time outside.
Keep in mind that in order for a teacher to be eligible to deduct costs associated with their profession, they must fulfil all of the following requirements:
- They must have used the funds but have not been compensated for doing so.
- It ought to have a clear connection to how they make their living.
- They are required to have a track record to back it up.
- If the expense was incurred for both personal and business reasons, then the only component of the expense that can be deducted is the portion that was incurred for business reasons.
Can educators who further their professional development by enrolling in additional classes or pursuing new certifications deduct the money they spend on their own education from their taxable income?
Expenses related to self-education that lead to a formal qualification can be written off as business deductions. Additionally, the course needs to have a sufficient connection to the teacher’s current job responsibilities, and it also needs to have:
- Upkeep or expansion of the particular abilities or expertise needed by teachers
- Result in a rise in teaching income or be likely to do so
The costs of a course taken for the purpose of furthering one’s own education are not tax deductible if the course is only tangentially related to the tasks of a teacher or if it helps a teacher find other work.
You may also be entitled to deduct expenses such as union dues, professional association dues and subscriptions, and the cost of books, publications, and journals that are directly linked to your line of work. You may be eligible to get a tax deduction for charitable contributions that you have made to organisations that are recognised as tax-exempt, provided that you have not been given anything in exchange for your contribution, such as raffle tickets or other novelty goods.
You may also be eligible to deduct the cost of income protection insurance as well as any expenses paid to your tax agent for the preparation of your yearly return. This is in addition to the possibility of deducting bank fees imposed on investment accounts.
It is in your best interest, when it comes time to prepare your tax return, to be aware of what kinds of expenses are deductible. Have a conversation with your tax advisor or go to the website of the ATO if you need further clarity regarding what expenses are deductible in order to help relieve the stress associated with tax season. Always make sure to keep a detailed record of all of your documents to assist in making the process of submitting your tax return as simple as possible.