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By Mikel Lindsaar

Tax Returns for Remote Workers

The end of the financial year is that special time of year where everyone gets to enjoy the wonderful process of compiling your tax returns.

We are all remote workers at reinteractive, and in our online chat room today there was a discussion about what things people should remember to claim on their tax returns to ensure a maximum return. This was quite helpful to several of the team so I thought I'd put it online here for other fellow remote workers.

Of course, I am not a tax agent and do not represent the ATO, but these are some areas that you should discuss with your tax accountant and look at being able to claim.

1) Payments made to a tax accountant

Yup, those fees you pay to get your tax return done, are claimable on next years tax return. So do your research, interview a couple and find someone you like to help you out.

2) Travel from your home

Unlike people who work in an office, as a remote working, your usual place of work is at home. So any travel you have had to do for your work (meetings, client sites, even going to the shop to fix your work computer) should be reviewed to see if they are claimable. You'll need to record distances travelled or have some other process in place for this.

3) Travel to other places

If you have to travel more than 50km I believe, you can claim your days away from home at the "reasonable rates" defined on the ATO Website.

4) Conference expenses

If you have been to any work related conferences, make sure these are covered for travel under point 3, as well as any fees you paid to attend.

5) Any training materials or courses you have purchased

Training in your role is an important part, these could be claimable.

6) Any computer parts you have purchased for work

Make sure they are work related. Depending on the price it can be written off entirely or depreciated over the lifetime of the asset. Trying to claim the new playstation might be a tough sell...

7) Upgrades to your home or office to make it more suitable for work.

If you have had to make modifications to your home office to make it usable for your work, such as desks, chairs, shelves, filing cabinets etc, these could all be claimable.

8) Percentage of power / water / gas and other bills

Your home office represents a percentage of your house and so you should be able to claim some of those expenses. For utilities, it may be easier to record the number of hours worked from home per week as the ATO allows you to claim a set rate per hour worked – 45 cents per hour. This may be easier than calculating a percentage.

9) Percentage of rent or mortgage payments

Similar to number 8, a portion of these could also be claimable for the full year. However, be careful with mortgage because this could trigger a capital gain.

10) Cleaning of any work related clothing

Our company provides our staff with t-shirts with our logos on them and asks them to wear them to events they attend. Cleaning these could be claimable.

11) Home expenses related to work

Do you expect there to be coffee and tea in an office you work at? Well, the same should be at your home office, this could be claimable.

12) Home internet connection costs

A percentage of these can be claimed according to how much they are used for work (vs. private use). A diary or log of how the connection is used may be necessary.

Get good advice

At the end of the day, the above list is some ideas. You should be able to claim anything that relates to your work and is needed for you to work properly. If you have any other things I've missed or see something not quite right in the list, please let us know on twitter and we'll add them :)

Of course, go find a really good tax accountant that you like, many of our team use The Orbit Group at reinteractive who are good people to talk to, give them a call and mention this post and they'll give you a discount and look after you :)

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