Keeping other people safe is an important part of your everyday work – but how many precautions are you taking to look after yourself? Financial security is super important and making sure you get your full refund at tax time is a good way to help you get ahead.
It's surprisingly easy to miss out on various deductions when you're doing your tax return, either by accident or because you didn't know about them. But skipping these can mean you're literally giving money away to the ATO for no reason. Working with someone who really knows what they're doing, such as one of our expert tax consultant here at H&R Block, is a really good way to make sure you don't miss out on anything.
When it comes to completing your return, first you'll need an income statement from your employer (previously called a "payment summary" or "group certificate"). This is a summary that outlines all of your salary, wages, allowances and bonuses for the financial year. It should be lodged by your employer directly to the ATO and you can check it by logging into myGov.
Once this has been lodged, you need to work out your deductions.
What do I need to know about claiming deductions?
You can claim 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 a guard or security employee, such as:
- Car expenses if you have to drive between jobs during your work day (for example, from your security day job at a warehouse to your night job as a bouncer at a nightclub)
- The cost of buying, repairing and cleaning any clothing items that are distinctive to your company (such as a shirt or t-shirt with a company logo on it)
- Food, veterinary expenses and registration costs for a guard dog, provided it's required by your job, and not privately owned or paid for by your employer
- The cost of renewing any licences obtained specifically for your employment, such as a private security licence (although you can't claim the original cost of securing the licence, even if it's a requirement of your job)
- 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 (records must be kept for claims over $50)
- The cost of buying and insuring any personal tools or equipment such as a flashlight or a radio to the extent that you use them for your work (which means if you also use the items outside of work then you can only claim a partial deduction)
- Self education costs for attending any courses, training or seminars specifically related to your current line of work (such as a self defence course)
- The cost of a first aid training course if you're a designated first aid person and need to do first aid training to assist in emergency work situations
- Any union and professional association fees
What can't I claim?
There are several key expenses you can't claim, including:
- Any regular clothing worn to your workplace that could also be worn outside of work (such as black pants or a white shirt) even if you bought it specifically to wear to work and your employer tells you to wear it
- 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
- The cost of renewing your driver's licence, even if having it is a condition of your employment
- You also can't claim any parking fees, fines for speeding or parking, or road tolls that are incurred during your work day
- Any tools or equipment provided to you by your employer
What records do I need to keep?
Clear records are really important at tax time, so you need to stay on top of your receipts and have a comprehensive set receipts if you want to get a good tax refund. 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) 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?
We know this can happen to anyone, so don't panic! But there's no doubt 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.
It's easy to make an 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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