FAQs

Can I claim on my self-education expenses?

Yes, a tax deduction for your self-education expenses related to your work as an employee is available if you work and study at the same time and can satisfy any of these conditions:

  • You are upgrading your qualifications for your current employment.
  • You are improving specific skills or knowledge used in your current employment.
  • You are employed as a trainee and you are undertaking a course that forms part of that traineeship.
  • You can show that at the time you were working and studying, your course led, or was likely to lead, to an increase in employment income.

Provided you meet one of the aforementioned eligibility requirements the following self-education expenses are allowable tax deductions:

  • tuition fees, including fees payable under FEE-HELP (this does not include expenses paid under HECS-HELP)

    - FEE-HELP is a loan for eligible fee-paying students enrolled at an eligible higher education provider or Open Universities of Australia
  • self-education expenses paid with your OS-HELP loan

    - OS-HELP is a loan which helps students meet airfares, accommodation and other travel expenses while undertaking some of their study overseas
  • textbooks, professional and trade journals
  • stationery
  • photocopying
  • computer expenses
  • student union fees
  • student services and amenities fees
  • accommodation and meals, only when participating in your course and it requires you to be away from home for one or more nights
  • running expenses if you have a room set aside for self-education purposes - such as the cost of heating, cooling and lighting that room while you are studying in it
  • allowable travel expenses.

What is the purpose of income protection insurance and do the associated costs constitute a deductible expense?

The purpose of income protection insurance is to protect one against loss of income.

Yes, the taxpayer is entitled to a deduction for premiums paid on an income protection policy that protects them from loss of income.

At what income level is one required to be registered for GST?

You may be required to work out your GST turnover in order to determine as to whether or not you meet or exceed the registration turnover threshold.

Your GST turnover meets or exceeds your registration turnover threshold if either:

  • your current GST turnover is $75,000 or more, or $150,000 for non-profit entities, and the Commissioner is not satisfied that your projected GST turnover is below $75,000 or $150,000
  • your projected GST turnover is $75,000 ($150,000 for non-profit entities) or more.

How long should I keep my records for?

Generally, you are required to keep your records for five years succeeding the issue date of your assessment notice, or;

  • If you have claimed depreciation (decline in value), you will need to keep records for five years succeeding the date of your last claim
  • If you acquire or dispose of an asset, you will need to keep records for five years succeeding the date capital gains was paid
  • If you are in dispute with the Australian Taxation Office, you will need to keep records for five years from the date of assessment or the date of the dispute resolution.

What penalties should I expect for late lodgement?

Penalties are applied on a case by case basis. Some things that will impact the amount of a penalty are;

  • The length of time overdue
  • The amount payable on your return
  • Your lodgement history

The Taxation Office may not apply a penalty if your return has been lodged voluntarily or if there is no tax payable.

If you receive tax payable or a penalty notice, be sure to pay it by the due date listed on your notice as general interest charges will start to accrue after the due date.

Claiming a deduction for car expenses

There are 4 methods that can be used to calculate your deduction for car expenses;

Method 1 - Cents per kilometre

  • Your claim is based on a set rate for each business kilometre
  • You can claim a maximum of 5,000 business kilometres
  • You do not need written evidence

Method 2 - 12% of original value

  • Your claim is based on 12% of the original value of the car
  • The value is subject to luxury car limits
  • Your car must have (or would have) travelled more than 5,000 business kilometres in the income year
  • You do not need written evidence

Method 3 - One-third of actual expenses

  • You claim one-third of your car's expenses
  • Your car must have (or would have) travelled more than 5,000 business kilometres in the income year
  • You need written evidence or odometer records for fuel and oil costs
  • You need written evidence for all the other expenses for the car.

Method 4 - Logbook

  • Your claim is based on the business use percentage of each car expense
  • You need a logbook so you can work out the percentage
  • You need odometer readings for the start and end of the period you owned or leased the car
  • You can claim fuel and oil costs based on odometer records
  • You need written evidence for all the other expenses for the car.

Where's my refund?

Depending on how your return is lodged the turn around time for receiving your assessment does vary.

Here at Hughes O'Dea Corredig, we have chosen the fastest, most efficient and most eco-friendly way to lodge your return. We send your return straight to the Taxation Office electronically, through a secure online system.

Under normal circumstances you can expect approximately a two week turn around time for your return to be processed and issued. Occasionally, this time frame will differ depending on the complications of your return and ATO processing issues.

Your returns will be delivered directly to our office and we will forward them out to you as a matter of priority.

Work Clothing / Uniforms

You are entitled to claim on purchasing, cleaning, repairing and hiring occupation specific uniforms and protective clothing. (eg. overalls, steel cap boots etc).

You can not claim on purchasing or cleaning plain uniforms that are not protective or occupation specific even if they are a compulsory requirement of your employer. (eg. black trousers and white business shirt).

You may need to provide evidence of these claims, including laundry costs.

If you receive an allowance from your employer, be sure to inform us of this at the time of tax preparation.

Donations

For you to claim a tax deductible gift it must:

  1. Be made to a deductible gift recipient (DGR)
  2. Truly be a gift
  3. Be money or property, which is one of the gift types; and
  4. Comply with any relevant gift conditions

This type of claim can only be made by the person or organisation that makes the gift (the donor).

The donor can be an individual, company, trust or other type of taxpayer.

Claiming Medical Expenses

You are entitled to claim any net expenses less any claims that you have or could get from Medicare or from your private health provider.

This excludes cosmetic surgery and treatments by non registered practitioners.

From 1st July 2013 the threshold for claiming net medical expenses will be means tested. Singles with an adjustable taxable income of $84,000 and couples with a combined adjustable taxable income of $168,000 are entitled to claim a tax offset of 10% of their net medical expenses over $5000. Singles and couples below these income thresholds are entitled to an offset of 20% of their net medical expenses over $2,120.