As a teacher there are plenty of work-related expenses scattered throughout the year, from teaching aids to the costs of working from home. So with the end of financial year quickly approaching, you might be wondering what you can and cannot claim at tax time.
The three golden rules when it comes to claiming deductions are; they should directly relate to the earning of your income; the money spent must have come out of your own pocket and not have been reimbursed by your employer; and you’ll also need a record of the purchase.
We spoke to the Australian Taxation Office about expenses teachers may be able to claim a deduction for this tax time. Here are some key messages for those working in the education sector:
What you can claim:
The costs of teaching aids and supplies. Whether it’s aids such as handouts for students or ICT tools and resource subscriptions to help support your lesson plan, purchases that relate directly to teaching are generally tax deductible to the extent they are used for work.
As we all know teachers spend a great amount of time working from home, marking and coming up with lesson plans. If you perform some of your work from your home, you may be able to claim a deduction for the costs you incur in running your home office - even if the area is not set aside solely for work-related purposes.
Renewing your accreditation and registration
The costs of renewing your teacher accreditation and Working With Children Check clearance are tax deductible. However, you cannot claim initial accreditation and registration costs you pay to start new employment. Don’t forget to claim your Union membership and other teacher association membership fees.
While trips between your home and work are considered a private expense and are generally not tax deductible, there are some exemptions. For instance, car expenses may be considered a deduction if you have transported students to school excursions like a sporting venue or carried bulky equipment to be used at work that can’t be stored securely on the work premises.
Clothing and laundry
You may be able to claim a deduction on any occupation-specific clothing you’re required to wear. However there is a clear line on what is deductible. For instance, while protective clothing would be considered deductible, plain uniforms and conventional clothing aren’t.
When it comes to preparing your tax return, it pays to know what items are tax deductible and can also ease the stress of tax time. Have a chat with your tax agent or visit the ATO’s website ato.gov.au/teachers if you need more clarity around what is deductible and keep a thorough record of your paperwork to help make submitting your tax return a seamless process.