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Media Professional Tax Return & Deduction Checklist

6 min read

It’s amazing how many people don’t claim everything they are entitled to at tax time.   

Whether you’re a journalist, print or video editor, TV producer or photographer – work with one of our expert tax consultants here at H&R Block and we’ll make sure you claim all the deductions available to you. 

So what do you need to do to get a great refund? First, we’ll help you download your income statement 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 yourincome. 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 tax deductions can I claim?  

There is a wide range of deductions you can claim as a media professional, such as: 

  • The cost of purchasing any tools or equipment for your use during work, such as a digital camera or a dictaphone
  • Any expenses related to purchasing and cleaning any clothing that is unique and distinctive to your job, and qualifies as either company specific (such as a shirt with your employer’s logo on it), a uniform or protective clothing (such as a security hi-vis vest)
  • Travel expenses such as accommodation and meals if you travel for work and need to stay away from home overnight (for example, if you go on location for a couple of days to cover a specific news event) and pay these expenses yourself
  • Working from home office expenses such as heating or cooling, and repairs to home office equipment
  • 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 shorthand training or new editing technology)
  • The cost of purchasing any work-related newspapers, publications or pay TV access, provided this is not already paid for by your employer

What can’t I claim? 

There are several key expenses you can’t claim, including: 

  • Office clothing such as a business suit or comfortable shoes, or regular clothing such as jeans and a t-shirt, even if you only wear them to work
  • Any entertainment such as business meals, sporting events or concerts (even if you discuss business when you’re there)
  • Any tools or equipment, such as a laptop or camera, if they are provided by your employer
  • 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? 

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? 

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’ve already lodged yourself and realise you’ve submitted an incorrect or unsubstantiated claim then talk to 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.


 

 

Tax Time Checklist
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