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Child Care Worker Tax Return and Deduction Checklist

8 min read

Taking care of our future generations is an incredibly important job. And when you spend all of your time focused on nurturing little ones, the last thing you probably want to think about every year is sorting out your taxes.

But tax time still rolls around every year, like it or not, and the best thing to do is get ahead of it and make sure you claim every possible deduction for your job. The smartest way to do this is with the help of an expert, like one of our experienced tax consultants here at H&R Block, who can help you get the biggest refund possible. 

To complete your return as a child care worker, child care assistant, nanny, kindergarten assistant or pre-school aide 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:

  1. First, you need to have spent the money yourself (it can’t have been reimbursed by your employer), and
  2. 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 a child care worker, such as: 

  • Car expenses, including parking costs and tolls, if you travel between different jobs on the same day (for example from your day job at a child care centre to a second job working in a restaurant) or to different locations for your work (for example if you are a nanny for more than one family and need to go from one home to another home or school during a work day, or if you need to attend any meetings, excursions or sporting events)
  • Any expenses connected 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, smock, gloves or sun protection including sun glasses and sun hat
  • Any expenses related to buying and insuring equipment or tools specifically required for your work, such as teaching aids, stationary, toys or art materials
  • Self education costs for attending any courses, training or seminars specifically related to your current line of work, such as a certificate or diploma in Early Childhood Education
  • 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 regular clothing worn to your workplace that could also be worn outside of work (such as jeans or a white t-shirt) even if you only wear it for work and bought it specifically to wear to work
  • Any upfront fees, joining fees or search fees paid to an employment agency
  • 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 upfront fees, joining fees or search fees paid to an employment agency
  • 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
  • Any costs incurred when travelling between your home and your workplace, even if you live a long distance away

What records do I need to keep? 

Record-keeping might seem like child’s play, but it’s really important 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? 

It’s okay, 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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