Whose Tax Returns Is The ATO Double-Checking This Year?

Each year, the Australian Taxation Office singles out specific careers where expenses claims and refund amounts will be more closely scrutinised. The targets this year? IT professionals, plumbers and non-commissioned defence force officers. Plus: all the current ATO guides for deductions in specific jobs.

Picture by HVargas

According to the ATO, around 90,000 people employed in those three fields will be contacted with specific guidelines on what they can and can't claim, to ensure all deductions are allowable. Obviously we're particularly interested in what IT professionals can claim. The highlights from the full guide:

  • If you regularly work from a home office, you may be able to claim electricity and depreciation on office equipment. However, you generally won't be able to claim rent or mortgage payments, especially if your employer also has an office in your home city.
  • You can claim phone expenses for work-related calls if your employer doesn't reimburse them, but you need to demonstrate that the costs are for work-related calls by keeping a diary or identifying your regular pattern of use based on an itemised bill.
  • Similarly, you can claim for the work-related portion of internet access, but you would need to demonstrate a basis for that calculation.
  • You can't claim for the cost of travel to and from your regular workplace, but if you regularly have to work on multiple sites, you can claim expenses for travelling between those sites, or from a secondary site to your home. Note that your home office doesn't count for these purposes.
  • You can only claim laundry if wearing a specific uniform or item of clothing (such as a tie with a company logo) is compulsory. Even if your workplace requires you to wear a suit, you can't claim laundry unless it's a specific suit from a registered uniform list.
  • You can claim self-education expenses, but there has to be a connection between the course and your employment. In other words: don't try requalifying as a naturopath and claiming it while working as a network manager.

Here's the full set of 2011-2013 deduction guides for specific careers, which also include detailed examples of the records you need to keep. If you work in these areas, it's well worth checking: you might easily be missing allowable deductions. Even if (like the majority of Australians) you use a tax agent or service, it doesn't hurt to inform yourself as well. (We updated this guide on June 29 when the ATO released a stack of additional guides.)

Older guides for the 2010-2011 tax year are also available for some careers.


Comments

    NCOs better watch out.. I have seen some whoppers from the forces with what they claim over the years..

      Tell! What have you seen?

      I assumed we were always being looked at!

        in the big scheme of things, if your not trying to claim dodgy crap why would you be worried, the tax pack clearly state what you can and can't claim, if it doesn't sound like it fits in to a particular deduction it probably doesn't, so don't claim it, why put in a dodgy deduction that will probably net you an extra $50 and get you audited?
        Agree'd with simon I have heard of alot of whoppers too, about time for a decent look in their is a few people i would LOVE to see get audited (claiming lcd tv's as a computer monitor etc)!

    Do graphic designers fall under IT professionals? I know in some states it's still
    considered as part of the printing industry instead of it. cougQUEEENSLANDcough

    When can we start submitting tax returns?

      From July 1 (assuming you have your payment summary). We'll have more on this point later in the week.

    you need to consider the consequences of claiming deductions against home office expenses. Though it wasn't outlined in this article it can have implications against Capital Gains when you go to sell your main residence. Always consult an accountant before claiming deducations you are unsure of...

      I didn't get into capital gains because in this specific context (IT professionals who aren't self-employed) the odds seem low you can claim it anyway. Definitely a consideration if you do claim it.

    Hmm .. isn't the title meant to start with "Who's" rather than "Whose"?

      No, Who's is a contraction of Who has or Who is.

      Similar rule for It's and Its.

        Of course "whose" is correct! Not only is "who's" a contraction of "who is", but "whose" is the possessive case. As in, "Whose car is this?"
        You wouldn't say, "Who is car is this?" or "Who is tax return being double checked ..."
        Easy!
        But, a question to you: why not THINK next time before posting such tripe?

      'Who's' is an abbreviation of 'who is.' Thus, the title would read: “Who is Tax Returns Is The ATO Double-Checking This Year?"

      So, no.

    Quick question: Excavation work, trap door, spikes and an Arduino -- deductible if you work in IT and intended to build a "client redirection" system to manage who comes into your office?

    Asking for a friend, of course. He does seem to think that the crocodile doesn't fall under general IT tools though..

      Only if these expenses "assist you towards earning an income". The only way around this would be to employ the crocodile as a subcontractor (at the market rate), then you could claim against that.

        +1 to these two posts still chuckling and sides hurt 10 mins later

    'no comment' for adult industry workers?

    what a classy and mature addendum...

    I have been trying to work out which category Librarians fall into, any idea?

      Ask Dewey

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