Office Worker Tax Return and Deduction Checklist

5 min read

The tax season might not sound like fun but, if you’re lucky, it might be time to get a nice big refund from the ATO. Sounds good, right? To get the best possible refund from your next return, it’s a smart idea to work with an experienced tax professional who knows how to maximise your income and expenses.

The most important thing is to make sure you claim every legitimate deduction and this checklist is designed to assist you in ticking off every possible business-related expense and getting the best return.

Office workers make up a huge proportion of our workforce and are essentially anyone who works in an office, usually performing some sort of clerical or admin role, rather than in a vocational career such as a doctor, hairdresser or teacher. If you’re an office worker, your employer will give you an income statement or payment summary that will outline all of your salary, wages, allowances and bonuses for the financial year.

Can I claim any deductions? 

As an office worker, you can claim tax deductions on any money spent during the financial year on products or services that directly related to earning an 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 an office worker, such as: 

  • Phone and internet expenses for any work-related usage on your personal phone or device, provided they are not already covered by your employer or reimbursed
  • Self education costs for attending any courses, training or seminars specifically related to your current line of work
  • Travel expenses such as accommodation and meals if you travel for work and need to stay away from home overnight, and pay these expenses yourself
  • Working from home office expenses such as heating or cooling and repair to home office equipment

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, 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, provided by your employer

What records do I need to keep? 

Record keeping is important 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 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) and for any hard to get receipts, it’s sufficient to make a note of the purchase in your diary of all the above details.

What happens if I make a mistake in my tax return? 

It is 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 submitted any incorrect or unsubstantiated claims then you should contact your accountant immediately and they 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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