Doing your taxes might not sound like the most fun activity in the world, but it's worth doing it right. You work hard every day in your job in the meat industry and you deserve to keep as much of your pay in your pocket at the end of each year.
The way to do this is to know all the deductions that meat workers in Australia may be entitled to and to make sure you claim all the relevant ones when you do your return. The more legitimate claims you make, the better your refund. And don't worry, you don't have to do it all by yourself. Our experienced tax consultants here at H&R Block know all the rules and will make sure you get the very best result.
Whether you're working in meat processing or butchery, you'll receive an income statement from your employer that will outline all of your salary, wages, allowances and bonuses for the financial year. Next, you have to work out your deductions.
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 meat worker, such as:
- The cost of purchasing any tools or equipment for your personal use during work, such as specialist knives or a sharpening stone
- Car expenses if you have to transport heavy or bulky equipment to your workplace that can't be stored on site or if you need to drive from one job to another (such as from your first job at a meat processing plant to your second job elsewhere)
- The cost of buying, repairing and cleaning any clothing items, including footwear, that are protective (such as protective boots, thermals or heavy duty overalls) or are officially a uniform and have distinctive features such as your employer's logo on them
- Any fees for joining a union or professional association such as the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union
- Phone and internet expenses for any work-related usage on your personal phone or device, provided they are not already covered by your employer
- Self education costs for attending any courses, training or seminars specifically related to your current line of work (such as a course in advanced butchery techniques)
What can't I claim?
There are several key expenses you can't claim, including:
- Regular clothing of any kind, such as jeans, shorts, running shs or plain t-shirts, that can be worn outside of your workplace, even if you only ever wear these items when you're at work
- The cost of any vaccinations (such as the Q fever vaccination) even if your employer requires it as a condition of your employment
- Any tools or equipment provided to you by your employer, such as shared knives
- Any education or training designed to help you move into a new and different career (such as a cookery course retraining you to be a chef)
- 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
What records do I need to keep?
You can only make claims if you have the evidence to back it up. So staying on top of your receipts and having impeccable record is very important if you want to get a good tax refund. So 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 dealing with it as soon as possible 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. But we all make innocent mistakes sometimes and if you realise you've self-lodged and 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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