The end of the tax year is right around the corner and though you may be dreading 30 June, there are things you can do to feel better prepared and make the most of your tax deductions. Because this year has been different for many people in terms of their employment situation, there are changes to tax reporting that may affect you.
Generally speaking, your income is money you earn from your employer in salary or wages, or the income you earn as a self-employed person from your business. However, there are other items included in income that people often forget. When you file your taxes, be sure your reported income includes:
To qualify as a deduction the expense must be directly related to earning your income; you must be able to prove the expense occurred, for example, with a receipt; and you cannot have been reimbursed by your employer for the expense. In the case of an expense that is both work and private, you can only claim a deduction for the portion that is related to work.
Even if you are an employee, if you work from home you may be able to claim deductions related to the cost of working from your home. These include items such as additional electrical, phone, and internet expenses.
The fixed rate method allows you to claim a deduction for additional running expenses for working from home. In this case, you can claim 52 cents for each hour you worked from home, but you must have a dedicated work area and keep records of time worked, either throughout the year or over a representative four-week period. The fixed rate method also does not include phone or internet expenses, computer consumables or the decline in the value of equipment.
The actual cost method allows you to work out the deduction based on the actual costs incurred working from home. This includes electricity and gas, phone and internet, cleaning and consumables. The exact expenses you can deduct varies, depending on whether you have a dedicated work area.
The end of financial year can feel overwhelming. However, with some information and organisation, it can be a lot less daunting. If you miss out on some deductions this year, make a note of them and keep track of them for next year. Consider speaking with an accountant so you can plan ahead and make the most of your deductions next year.