The end of the financial year has drawn to a close and you might not have submitted your tax return. It's not too late! Here are five tax deductions that you may not be aware of and you should be using to your benefit.

1) Self-education

You can claim a tax deduction for certain courses and studies if they improve your capability to earn an income. You can’t claim for a course of study that is completely unrelated to your profession. The ATO has a special calculator to work out of a course is eligible If it is, not only will you be able to claim for the course fees, but also things like internet usage for study, student union fees, text books and travel to-and-from place of education – check out the full list here 

2) Home office

Even if you are not studying you may be able to claim certain costs of running a home office, such as electricity (heating, cooling and lighting) and phone calls that relate to your work. You need to keep some kind of record of how often you use the office for work-related tasks. Cleaning expenses are something you could also claim. You may be able to claim an immediate deduction for items costing up to $300.

3) Interest costs

We’ve all heard of negative gearing – the ability to claim interest paid on an investment property, and you may know that you can claim the cost of interest on money you borrow to invest in some other kinds of investments, like shares. But did you know that you might also be able claim the interest on money you borrow to buy work equipment like computers.

4) Pay TV and union fees

We mentioned claiming the cost of telephone and internet usage that relates to your work, but, depending on your profession, you can also claim costs of pay TV if you can prove you needed to access Pay TV for your work. If you are a member of a union or business or professional association you can claim those fees too.

5) Investment property expenses

If you have an investment property, there are many expenses you can claim, such as landlord’s insurance and of course interest on your loan. You can also claim body corporate fees, rates, energy and water bills (that you pay, not those your tenant pays), land tax and advertising for a tenant. Did you also know you can claim for travel expenses when you visit the property and pest control fees? If you manage to incorporate a holiday into visiting your property, you can’t claim the entire cost of the holiday, you need to apportion the cost and only claim for that.

The general rule of thumb is that you can claim for something if it helps you earn an income, or improve your chances of earning an income. But to be on the safe side make sure you double check with the ATO’s helpful list here

Written by Penny Pryor,
Thursday June 12, 2014

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