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Travel Agent Tax Return and Deduction Checklist

8 min read

When you spend every day helping your clients plan exciting adventures and experiences, it can be easy to forget some of the more mundane things in life. Like taxes. It might not seem that exciting, but doing your annual tax return is actually a fantastic experience to legitimately get a little more money back in your pocket, ready to spend on a dream getaway. 

The key to success is making sure you claim all of the deductions that are relevant to your work as a travel agent. Engaging someone who knows what they’re doing, such as one of our expert tax agents here at H&R Block, is a really smart move because they can help you find all the deductions and get the best possible return. In the same way that your clients get a better travel deal when they come to you rather than planning a trip themselves, we can help you achieve a significantly better result on your taxes. 

To complete your return, 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, we can download the information for you and then help you 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 an employee at a travel agency, such as: 

  • Expenses connected to going on discounted holiday packages and trips (known as ‘educationals’ or ‘famils') that are specifically for educational work purposes and not just a holiday
  • The purchase and cleaning of a compulsory uniform or any clothing items featuring a company logo or a design that your employer has registered with AusIndustry
  • Self education costs for attending any courses, training or seminars specifically related to your current line of work, such as a workshop learning to use a new electronic ticketing system
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Technical and professional publications relating to your work (such as a travel industry magazine)

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)
  • Passport application and renewal fees
  • Any tools or equipment, such as a laptop, provided by your employer
  • 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?

Keeping a comprehensive set of records is really important at tax time, so you need to stay on top of your receipts if you want to get a good tax refund. It’s a good 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? 

It’s okay, we know this can happen to anyone! 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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