If clients have records, there are a huge variety of deductions available, says one accounting adviser.
Prepare for protein bar and perfume claims
Clients can claim plenty of additional deductions – from protein bars to perfume to earplugs – as long as they have kept records, said accounting adviser Lielette Calleja.
“There is a huge variety of items that can be legally claimed by eligible employees so long as they retain a record of the expense and they speak with their tax adviser first-hand to see if the employment situation warrants the deduction,” she said.
“But keep in mind, these records must be held for five years from the date the tax return is lodged in case of tax audit.”
While pandemic lockdowns and the constant need for testing resulted in many trips to the pharmacy, more than just rapid antigen tests could be claimed this tax time, she said.
Hair accessories and anything that kept hair out of food can be claimed if the client worked as a baker, chef or kitchen hand. Bobby pins, hairnets and hair ties could all be claimed.
She said protein bars were often used as a snack between meals but if your client was a long-haul truck driver or a job where they were constantly on the go, they might be able to claim incidental meal costs such as replacement bars. However, ATO legislation only allowed claims for one of each meal type in a 24-hour period for long-haul drivers, even if you ate at unusual times.
Make-up that was picked up at the local pharmacy could also be claimed, although only items used purely for work by make-up artists on clients could fall into this deduction.
While taxpayers could not claim deductions for personal grooming, if they were a flight attendant who purchased moisturising products to combat the lack of humidity on flights, they could be claimed.
Surprisingly, real estate agents or salespersons who were entitled to earn a commission could claim a deduction for gifts purchased for work purposes. This included perfume, flowers, hampers and even some alcohol as long as they were not reimbursed by their employer.
Hand sanitiser was essential this past year, and clients whose employment required physical contact or being in close proximity to customers could claim the protective item.
While people could claim all these deductions and more, the problem clients faced was retaining the receipts till tax time – let alone five years down the track.
“The tricky thing about retaining expense records for five years is the lion’s share of these records are thermal paper receipts,” said Ashley Davies, chief financial officer of Slyp.
“Not only are they hard to keep track of – especially the important ones – they drastically fade over time and are bad for the environment,”
Slyp, a fintech company, said it had made keeping track of receipts, and therefore claiming deductions easier, through smart receipts.
Currently only available to NAB customers, Slyp said it was in partnership with the other three big four banks to bring Slyp receipts to their applications as well.
The smart receipts had return barcodes, warranty reminders and were exportable to PDFs, Mr Davies said.
The bank app also notified customers after a purchase that a new smart receipt was available.
Slyp smart receipts were available Australia-wide in select retailers that included Chemist Warehouse, Mitre 10, Harris Farm, and Cue.