The ATO recognises the dedicated efforts of our health care workers over the past year. To help assist you with your tax return, the ATO developed occupation specific guides with tailored industry information. This includes information on work-related expenses which may be claimable for health care workers and top tips to make your tax time go smoothly.
Clothing, laundry and self-education expenses are common deductions for health care professionals. As such, the ATO is placing a focus on the education and awareness of these work-related expenses to help you get your returns right.
For example, a common misconception is that you can make a standard claim of $150 for laundry expenses. Be aware, the $150 limit is there to reduce the record-keeping burden, but it’s not an automatic entitlement. While you don’t need written evidence for laundry claims under $150, you must have spent the money yourself, and it must have been for laundering deductible clothing (a distinctive uniform, protective or occupation-specific clothing) that you were required to wear to earn your income. You will also need to calculate and be able to show how you worked out your claim.
Another mistake the ATO sometimes sees is taxpayers claiming self-education expenses when the study doesn’t have a direct connection to their current employment.
You can claim self-education and study expenses if your course relates directly to your current employment as a health care worker and it:
- maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
- results in or is likely to result in an increase in income from your current employment.
For example, undertaking a Certificate IV in Ageing Support to maintain or improve the specific skills and knowledge you require as an age care worker.
You can’t claim a deduction if your study is only related in a general way or is designed to help you get a new job. For example, you can’t claim your Bachelor of Nursing if you’re working as a personal care assistant.
You can’t claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for these expenses.
Follow these three golden rules to make sure you get your work-related expense claims right:
- you must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed
- the claim must directly relate to earning our income
- you must have a record to prove it.
To make sure your tax return is in the best of health this tax time and for more examples, check out the ATO’s handy occupation guide at ato.gov.au/occupation21 or call us, we can help you get the most out of your tax return.