Maximise your tax refund

Do you know the tax deductions and offsets for which you might be eligible this financial year?

Do you know the tax deductions and offsets for which you might be eligible this financial year?

We’ve put together the following tips which may help you to legitmately reduce your tax liability in your 2018-19 return. With so much information being provided to the ATO, it’s best to wait until all data is finalised before submitting your return. For example, this year you need to check that your income statement from your employer says “tax ready” and your private health insurance statement is available before visiting us.

This is also the first year the ATO will receive the details of your work-related deductions data from your tax return (in the past they didn’t have access to this level of granularity – with totals sent but not the description of the deductions). The ATO has also been given additional funding to close the $8.7 billion individuals tax gap and part of its focus is on employee claimed. Some of this additional funding will go to improving the checking of claims in real time, additional audits and prosecutions.

Just remember that for an expense to qualify:

  • you must have spent the money yourself
  • it must be directly related to earning your income
  • it must not have been reimbursed
  • you must have the relevant record to prove it


Claiming all work-related deduction entitlements may save considerable income tax. Typical work-related expenses include employment-related mobile phone, internet usage, computer repairs, union fees and professional subscriptions that the employee paid themselves and for which they were not reimbursed.


When you are an employee who regularly works from home and part of your home has been set aside primarily or exclusively for the purpose of work, a home office deduction may be allowable. Typical home office costs include heating, cooling, lighting and office equipment depreciation.To claim the deduction, you must have kept a diary of the hours you worked at home for at least four weeks.


Self-education expenses can be claimed provided the study is directly related to either maintaining or improving current occupational skills or is likely to increase income from your current employment. If you obtain new qualifications in a different field through study, the expenses incurred are not tax deductible. Typical self-education expenses include course fees, textbooks, stationery, student union fees and the depreciation of assets such as computers, tablets and printers.


Immediate deductions can be claimed for assets that cost under $300 to the extent the asset is used to generate income. Such assets may include tools for tradespeople, calculators, briefcases, computer equipment and technical books purchased by an employee, or minor items of plant purchased by a landlord. Assets costing $300 or more that are used for an income producing purpose can be written off over a period of time as a tax deduction.


If you use your motor vehicle for work-related travel, there are two choices of how you can claim.If the annual travel claim does not exceed 5000 kilometres, you can claim a deduction for your vehicle expenses on the cents-per- kilometre basis. You do not need written evidence to show how many kilometres you have travelled, but the ATO may ask you to show how you worked out your business kilometres.


Make sure to add in any donations not included where the receipt shows your donation is tax deductible.If you made donations to an approved organisation through workplace-giving, you still need to record the total amount of your donations at this item.


The ATO allows you to claim the costs of your income protection premiums for policies taken out separate to your Superannuation. So, if you have income protection as part of your super package, the premium is not tax deductible. If your insurance is a policy outside of your Super, the costs ARE deductible.


Claiming a tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions is no longer restricted to the self-employed. The rules changed on 1 July 2017 and anyone under the age of 75 will be able to claim contributions made from their after-tax income to a complying superannuation fund as fully tax deductible in the 2018-19 tax year.

If youʼre aged 65 or over, you will have to satisfy the work test to contribute and if youʼre under 18 at 30 June you can only claim the deduction if you earned income as an employee or business owner. Other eligibility criteria apply.

To claim the deduction, you will first need to lodge a notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal contributions form with your superannuation fund by the earlier of the day you lodge your tax return or the end of the following income year.


An individual likely to earn less than $52,697 in the 2018-19 tax year should consider making after-tax contributions to their superannuation to qualify for the superannuation co-contribution if their circumstances permit.

The Government will match after- tax contributions fifty cents for each dollar contributed up to a maximum of $500 for a person earning up to $37,697 The maximum then gradually reduces for every dollar of total income over $37,697 reducing to nil at $52,697.


Tax offsets directly reduce your tax payable and can add up to a sizeable amount. Eligibility for tax offsets generally depends on your income, family circumstances and conditions for particular offsets. Taxpayers should check their eligibility for tax offsets which include, among others, the low- and middle-income tax offset, senior Australians and pensioners offset and the offset for superannuation contributions on behalf of a low-income spouse.

Make sure that you check the tax return in detail before signing. All of your assessable income should have been reported and your deductions correctly recorded. Ensure that you can back up every dollar of the claims. Remember that ultimately, itʼs your responsibility as to what gets lodged and you are the one who has to pay the extra tax plus penalties and interest if anything is wrong.


We want to make the tax return experience as convenient and hassle free as possible, and to ensure that you get the maximum refund. To assist in this process, it’s important to be prepared with some items of information, which we’ve outlined in our tax return checklist.


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