Retail Industry Workers Tax Return and Deduction Checklist

5 min read

No-one looks forward to tax time, but the good news is that it’s actually an opportunity for you to potentially secure a great return from the ATO. But how do you do this? Make sure you claim every legitimate deduction and work with a really experienced and knowledgeable tax professional who knows how to maximise your income and expenses. 

To get you started, this checklist is designed to help you tick off every possible business-related expense and get the best return.

Thousands of people around Australia work in retail, and it’s these hard-working employees who keep shops and retail outlets open and running across the country 365 days a year. If you’re a retail industry 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? 

You can claim tax 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 tax deductions can I claim? 

There is a wide range of deductions you can claim as a retail worker, such as:

  • The purchase and cleaning of a compulsory uniform or any clothing featuring a design that your employer has registered with AusIndustry
  • Overtime meal expenses if you receive an overtime meal allowance and it’s included in your assessable income
  • Technical and professional publications relating to your work (such as a health food magazine for someone working in a health food shop)

What can’t I claim for tax deduction? 

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

  • Clothing that is a specific colour or brand, but doesn’t feature a company logo and is otherwise fine to wear outside of the workplace
  • The cost of any food, drinks or snacks consumed during the work day
  • Grooming costs such as getting a haircut or buying cosmetics, even if being well groomed is a requirement of your job

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 tax return 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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