Sales and Marketing Workers Tax Return and Deduction Checklist
Many people who work in sales and marketing are great in creative industry when they're at work. But then they lose a lot of their enthusiasm when it comes to crunching the numbers at tax time. Don't lose heart – the annual tax season is actually ripe with opportunity, if you look at it the right way and get the right advice. There are lots of legitimate tax deductions you might be eligible to claim as part of your job, and our tax consultants here know all the rules so we can help you maximise your ultimate refund.
Sales and marketing has expanded enormously in recent years, and in addition to the more traditional roles such as marketing manager and sales director, this area now also includes people working in content roles, strategic planning, digital marketing and social media.
If you work in a sales or marketing role in a company, 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, and this is the document you need to use as the basis for your annual tax return.
Can I claim any deductions?
You are allowed to claim deductions on any money you have spent during the financial year on products or services that are directly related to earning your income. But be warned – for the deductions to be valid, you need to have spent the money yourself (it can't have been reimbursed by your employer) and you need to keep a legible 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 when you work in sales and marketing, such as:
- Car expenses if you need to drive anywhere specifically for work, such as to a meeting with an agency or to a photo shoot for a marketing campaign
- Buying and laundering any clothing that is specific to your occupation and can't be worn outside of your work environment, such as a shirt with a business logo on it that must be worn by the entire sales team
- The cost of any overtime meals, but only if you receive an overtime meal allowance and it's included in your assessable income (rather than rolled into your salary)
- Phone and internet costs for your own phone or device if you need to use it for work purposes and you're not given a phone by your employer or reimbursed for the costs (note that records must be kept for claims over $50)
- Any job specific training or education such as a course on how to use a new social media management tool, plus any seminars or conferences, and any work related publications such as a sales periodical
- Any tools or equipment necessary for your job but not provided by your work
What can't I claim?
There are several key expenses you can't claim, including:
- Any costs incurred on by attending any entertainment or social functions such as lunches, dinners, launches, concerts or sporting events, even if it is work related and business is discussed
- Any meals or snacks consumed during the process of an ordinary work day
- Any study or training expenses that are designed to help you retrain for a new career (such as studying acupuncture when you currently work in digital marketing) or any study not sufficiently related to your work (such as a course on stress management for personal reasons, even if what you learn may be helpful in managing your team)
- Any expenses that are paid for by your employer
What records do I need to keep?
Record keeping is very important when you're claiming deductions 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's important that you take lots of 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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