Tax tips for teachers

Ask any teacher, and they will tell you that plenty of teaching related expenses come out of their own pockets. But which of those costs are tax deductible? We’ve spoken to the ATO about what teachers can claim. In general, there are three things you need to consider:

  • Have you spent the money yourself and haven’t been reimbursed?
  • Is the expense directly related to how you earn your income?
  • Do you have a record to prove the expense?

If you answer yes to all of these questions, it is likely that the expense is tax deductible.

As a teacher, some of the expenses you may be able to claim include:

Any teaching aids that you pay for are generally tax deductible, as long as they are used solely for work. This includes sporting equipment and student handouts. You can’t claim a deduction for any items you have supplied to students for their own personal use, such as gifts or lunches.

You may be able to claim costs incurred in running a home office. It’s important to keep a diary, as work performed from your home office could be tax deductible even if the area isn’t solely for work-related purposes.

You may be able to claim a deduction on occupation specific clothing, although there is a clear line on what is deductible and what is considered a private expense. While a PE teacher may wear a tracksuit and runners to work, these are not deductible. On the other hand, a design and technology teacher who is required to wear goggles, gloves and hard hat may be able to claim those items if they have to buy them themselves.

While trips between home and work are generally not tax deductible, car expenses may be considered a deduction if you use your own car to transport students on school excursions or carry school equipment under certain circumstances.

While the initial cost of obtaining your teaching registration is not tax deductible, you can claim the cost of renewing it.

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. For more clarity around what is deductible, chat with your tax agent or visit the ATO’s website.