Tradesperson Tax Return and Deduction Checklist

9 min read

Whether you’re a carpenter, bricklayer, plumber, painter, plasterer or tiler – you’re an expert at what you do and know the value of hiring a professional to get certain jobs done properly. Your taxes are no different. 

You can spend hours at the end of each tax year trying to teach yourself how to do a tax return with uncertain success. Or you can turn to an expert, like one of our experienced tax consultants here at H&R Block, to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.

One of the biggest reasons to get support at tax time is to make sure you don’t overlook any of the legitimate deductions for your industry, which basically equates to leaving hard-earned money on the table. Our consultants know all the ins and outs of the Australian tax system and will make sure you don’t miss out on a single dollar. 

To complete your return, you’ll need as an employee in a fitness company, you’ll first 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. You won’t need to have an actual copy of this statement, as it should be lodged by your employer directly to the ATO. Once this has been lodged, we can download the information for you and then help you work out your deductions.

What do I need to know about claiming deductions? 

As you know, you’re entitled to claim deductions on any money spent during the financial year on products or services that directly related to earning an income. But there are two things you need to remember:

  1. First, you need to have spent the money yourself (it can’t have been reimbursed by your employer), and
  2. Secondly, 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 tradie, such as: 

  • Car or truck expenses when you’re driving to and from work, but only if you’re required to transport heavy, bulky tools or equipment (such as a ladder, tool box or power tools) back and forth because there’s nowhere secure to leave them at your work site
  • Any transport expenses – including parking fees and tolls – if you are driving between multiple jobs or work locations during the day
  • Award transport payments for deductible work-related travel
  • Any expenses connected to buying, repairing and cleaning any work clothing items that are distinctive to your company (such as a shirt or shorts with a company logo on it) or that have protective benefits such as a hard hat, gloves, safety glasses or goggles, helmets or breathing masks as well as sunglasses or anti-glare glasses, sunhats and sunscreen
  • The cost of insuring any personal tools or equipment 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 an apprenticeship
  • Union and professional association fees
  • Any renewal fees for licences, regulatory permits, certificates, or 'cards' related to your work – but not the initial cost of getting these items
  • Any meals you buy and eat when you work overtime, but only if you get an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or enterprise agreement and it's included in your assessable income
  • Phone and internet expenses for any work-related usage on your personal phone or device, provided they are not already covered by your employer
  • 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
  • Working from home office or workshop expenses such as heating or cooling, and repairs to equipment
  • Travel expenses such as accommodation and meals if you travel for work and need to stay away from home overnight (for example, if you take on a temporary job in a different state) and pay these expenses yourself

What can’t I claim? 

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

  • Regular clothing of any kind, such as jeans, shorts, running shoes or plain t-shirts, that can be worn outside of your workplace, even if you only ever wear these items when you’re at work
  • The cost of renewing your driver’s licence, even if having it is a condition of your employment
  • Any entertainment such as business meals, sporting events or concerts (even if you discuss business matters when you’re there)
  • Any fines for speeding or parking that are incurred during your work day
  • Any tools or equipment provided to you 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? 

Clear records are 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). 

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

We know this can happen to anyone and strongly recommend dealing with it as soon as possible. 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 self-lodge and realise you’ve submitted incorrect or unsubstantiated claims then you should contact H&R Block 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.



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