Top Tech Tips for Tax Time
Using your own device for work?
If you use your personal laptop, desktop, tablet or phone for work, you can claim a deduction for work-related use of the device. You claim for the work-related portion of the decline in value (depreciation) of the device.
As a general rule, desktop computers are depreciated over a period of four years, and laptops are depreciated over three years. You can claim an immediate deduction for the full cost of the item if it costs $300 or less. You must apportion the amount of your claim if the computer, laptop or other device has been used in part for private purposes.
You need to keep a diary to record the amount of time you use your device for work and private purposes. The diary must include a representative period of at least four weeks to establish a pattern of use for the whole year. You can also claim a proportion of your internet costs which relate to business use.
Working and studying?
Attending a course or studying for a qualification as part of your job? You can claim a tax deduction for the costs of self-education if one of the following applies to you:
- At the time the expense was incurred, there was a direct connection between the self-education and your current work activities and income
- You can show that the study leads to, or may lead to, an increase in income from your current employment or work activities
- Any other direct connection can be found between the self-education and current work activities
If that sounds like your situation, you can claim the study related portion of your device as a tax deduction.
If the item costs less than $300, you can claim an immediate deduction for the full cost. If the item costs more than $300, you can claim a deduction each year for the decline in value (depreciation). For laptops, this is typically three years and for desktops, typically four years.
Again, you’ll need to keep a diary so you can demonstrate the study-related portion of your device.
Small Businesses can claim an instant tax deduction for many devices
This type of deduction is ideal for:
- Uber drivers
- People running Etsy and Ebay stores
- Airtasker workers
- Anyone running a small business
If you run a small business (defined as a business with a turnover less than $2m), you can claim an immediate tax deduction for any items of capital expenditure costing less than $20,000.
This includes many devices such as:
- Mobile phones
The $20,000 instant asset write-off is available until 30 June 2017. Buy before 30 June this year to claim tax relief in this year’s tax return, otherwise you will have to wait until next year to claim the relief.
Further, the asset must be in use by the end of the tax year (30 June) to claim the deduction. If you order an item but it isn’t delivered until next year, you must make the claim next year.
Other key features:
- $20,000 is the GST exclusive price
- You can purchase second-hand as well as new assets
- Assets costing more than $20,000 (GST-exclusive) must be depreciated over their useful life (typically 3 to 4 years for tech items)
- If an item is used partly for business purposes and partly for private purposes, you can only claim a tax deduction for the business proportion of the cost
If you run a small business through a company, you will get tax relief at a rate of 28.5%. If you run a business as a sole trader or partnership, you get tax relief at your marginal rate (between 19% and 47%, excluding medicare levy).
For more information, find an office near you and book an appointment online or call 13 23 25.