Flight Crew Tax Return and Deduction Checklist
When you're flying high for work, it can be a bit of a downer when you realise it's that time of year to do your taxes again. But don't lose heart, tax season can be a positive time of the year (yes, really!) and even a chance to get a few extra dollars in your pocket.
The way to do this is by making sure you claim every possible legitimate deduction, which will help you to get the best refund at the end of the day. Working with an experienced tax professional, like our amazing consultants here at H&R Block, is a smart way to do this because we know the ins and outs of the system and can make sure you get all of the deductions you are entitled to.
When you're a member of a flight crew for any Australian airline, you will get an income statement at the end of the financial year that will outline all of your salary, wages, allowances and bonuses for that year. Once you have this, you can start working out your deductions. To make it a little easier, we've put together this handy guide, to help you work out some of the things to which you're entitled.
Can I claim any deductions?
You can claim deductions on any money spent during the financial year on products or services that directly related to earning your income. You need to have spent the money yourself (it can't have been reimbursed by your employer) and 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 flight attendant, such as:
- Any costs related to purchasing rehydrating moisturisers, hair conditioners or other cosmetic products specifically used to reduce the effects of the abnormally dry conditions of an airplane cabin
- Self education costs for attending any courses, training or seminars specifically related to your current line of work, such as updating your first aid certification
- Meals when you're travelling away from home overnight for work, and overtime meals when your employer pays you an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement
- Travel expenses such as accommodation and meals if you are travelling for work and need to stay away from home overnight, and pay these expenses yourself
- Any expenses related to buying, hiring, repairing and cleaning any items of clothing that are part of a uniform and required for your work
- The cost of buying luggage or carry bags used specifically for work-related travel
- Any costs associated with securing visas required to enter any country you're visiting for work
What can't I claim?
There are several key expenses you can't claim, including:
- The cost of buying and maintaining any plain items of clothing that you wear to work (such as a pair of black shs or a white shirt) even if you only ever wear these items when you are at work
- Any grooming costs, including hairdressing services and buying items of normal make up, even if it is a requirement of your job that you be well presented
- Any costs incurred when travelling between your home and your workplace (or place of departure) even if you live a long distance away
What records do I need to keep?
Keeping clear and complete records is important when it comes to tax time, and it's a good idea to create an easy and reliable system to help you keep on top of this throughout the year.
You don't necessarily need to keep physical receipts, and it's also 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?
To avoid having any issues with your tax return, it's essential that you take great care in putting together the information and supporting documentation when filing your tax return. You should only ever claim deductions that are genuine to avoid penalties and possibly even prosecution from the ATO.
But we all make innocent mistakes sometimes and if you've lodged yourself and realise you've submitted incorrect or unsubstantiated claims then you should contact us 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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