Aged Care Worker Tax Return and Deduction Checklist
What could be more important than taking care of our precious older generation? You do an amazing job every day helping aged Australians live with dignity and a high quality of life, and we know this work can be tiring. So the last thing you probably feel like doing at the end of a long day is sorting through your taxes.
But getting your tax return done promptly each year is a smart thing to do, because it can mean more getting of your hard earned money back in your pocket. Sounds good, right? The key is making sure you claim all the relevant deductions for your job – and our experienced tax consultants here at H&R Block can help you make sure you don't miss a single one!
To complete your return as an Aged Care Nurse, Registered Nurse, Home Care Provider, Community Support Worker or Disability Support Worker employed by a company, you'll first need an income statement from your employer (previously called a "payment summary" or "group certificate"). This is a summary that outlines all of your salary, wages, allowances and bonuses for the financial year.
You won't need to have a copy of this statement, as it should be lodged by your employer directly to the ATO. Once this has been lodged, we can download the information for you and then help you work out your deductions.
What do I need to know about claiming deductions?
As you know, you're entitled to claim deductions on any money spent during the financial year on products or services that directly related to earning your income. But there are two things you need to remember:
- First, you need to have spent the money yourself (it can't have been reimbursed by your employer), and
- Secondly, you need to keep a record of the expense such as a receipt or invoice.
What deductions can I claim?
There is a wide range of deductions you can claim as an Aged Care Worker, such as:
- Car expenses, including parking costs and tolls, if you travel between different jobs on the same day (for example from working at a nursing home to a second job as a nanny) or to different locations for your work (for example if you are doing home visits)
- Any commissions or fees paid to an aged care employment agency including upfront, joining or search fees, plus any union fees
- Any expenses connect to buying, repairing and cleaning any work clothing items that are either part of a uniform or distinctive to your company (such as a shirt with a company logo on it)
- Any clothing or items that have protective benefits such as a face mask, lab coat, apron or gloves, plus sun protection including sun glasses and sun hat if your job requires you to spend time outdoors in direct sunlight
- Any expenses related to buying and insuring equipment or tools specifically required for your work, such as teaching aids, a stethoscope, music or entertainment items, a bag to carry patient files, a blood pressure monitor or a laptop (which can be depreciated if it costs over $300)
- Subscription fees for any aged care industry-specific magazines or journals
- Self education costs for attending any courses, training or seminars specifically related to your current line of work and designed to help you up-skills in your current job, such as a certificate in Aging Support
- The cost of a first aid training course if you're a designated first aid person and need to do first aid training to assist in emergency work situations
- Phone and internet expenses for any work-related usage on your personal phone or device, provided they are not already covered by your employer
What can't I claim?
There are several key expenses you can't claim, including:
- Any costs incurred when travelling between your home and your workplace, even if you live a long distance away
- Regular clothing worn to your workplace that could also be worn outside of work (such as black pants, a white shirt or jogging shs) even if you only wear it for work and bought it specifically to wear to work
- The cost of any meals or snacks consumed during the course of a normal work day, even if you are given an allowance by your employer to cover the meal expense
- Any grooming costs, including hairdressing services and buying items of make up, even if it's a requirement of your job to be well presented
What records do I need to keep?
We can't emphasise enough the importance of good record-keeping at tax time, so you need to stay on top of your receipts and have a comprehensive set receipts if you want to get a good tax refund. It's a smart idea to create an easy and reliable system to help you keep on top of this throughout the year.
Remember, you don't need to keep physical receipts, and it's acceptable to keep a digital copy (such as a photo of a receipt or an email receipt) provided it is possible to read:
- The name of the supplier
- Amount of the expense
- Nature of the goods or services
- Date the expense was paid
- Date of the document
You also don't need to keep receipts for expenses under $10 (as long as these don't cumulatively come to more than $200).
What happens if I make a mistake in my tax return?
First of all, don't panic! We know this can happen to anyone and strongly recommend dealing with it as soon as possible. This is always the best approach. It's essential that you take great care in putting together the information and supporting documentation when filing your tax return, and only claim deductions that are genuine to avoid penalties and possibly even prosecution from the ATO.
It's easy to make an innocent mistakes sometimes, and if you self-lodge and realise you've submitted incorrect or unsubstantiated claims then you should contact H&R Block immediately and we will assist you in making the necessary amendments.
Still have some questions about lodging your tax return? Talk to H&R Block. Our experienced tax consultants will be able to help. Call 13 23 25 for details or find your nearest office and book an appointment online.
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