Hold the phone calls and the email requests. Winners are grinners and with the average tax return being around $2,800 for an Australian individual, dollars are on the table. If your tax return is nowhere near that amount, you may be missing out.
Call centre jobs are mainly office-based, or can be a work-from-home option. This means that there might not be many car expenses to be claimed. The cost of travelling from your home to your usual place of work can’t be claimed. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) deems that to be a private expense, however if you’re in the know, you’ll know it pays to keep your log book to capitalise on the time you do travel between offices or to a client’s place of business.
If you use your own car to travel between workplaces once you’ve arrived in one office and you have to travel to another, or if you have to visit a client at their place of work, jot the journey into your logbook. Note the odometer reading, the date, reason for your journey and kilometres travelled because that expense can be claimed.
Pro Tax Tip: If you’ve had to attend a conference, you can claim your car travel to and from the conference centre as well as any road tolls and parking you’re out of pocket for.
Clothing and laundry
Working as a call centre operator may mean you can wear casual clothing to work – even tracksuit pants! If your clothing can easily be worn as an every-day garment, then you won’t be able to claim those expenses. Even if your manager asks you to wear black pants, they’re not distinctive enough to be deemed as a uniform.
You can claim the cost of clothing if you have to buy, hire, repair or clean that is a compulsory uniform. This could be a polo shirt that has your company logo, or required clothing for safety purposes, such as Hi Vis jackets, steel-capped boots and safety goggle eye protection.
Pro Tax Tip: If you’re reimbursed for any clothing or uniform expenses, you can’t claim the cost as a tax deduction.
You have to keep your skills sharp when you help others. If you’ve attended a seminar, purchased a course, undertaken training that updates skills for your current employment, keep those receipts. Education that maintains or improves your skills and knowledge for your current job is a claimable tax deduction, for example studying for a Certificate III in Customer Engagement.
Don’t forget, you’ll need to show how the course benefits your current employment and keep all of your records such as receipts, course fees, text books, stationery and travel expenses. Remember, if your course doesn’t have anything to do with your current employment, you won’t be able to claim.
Pro Tax Tip: If you have to attend a course that you have to travel from your place of work, jot your trip in your log book. That travel is claimable.
Working From Home
Call centre jobs are perfect working from home arrangements. You can claim a tax deduction on the expenses you’ll incur during the course of your work. This may include heating, cooling, electricity, gas, depreciation of office furniture, cleaning, repair, computers and laptops.
There are three methods for claiming working from home expenses:
- Shortcut method
- 52 cents per hour
- Actual cost
Pro Tax Tip: Don’t forget to keep a work diary which details the hours you’ve worked. A work diary can be kept for four consecutive weeks and averaged out over the year. If your costs include private use, you’ll need to apportion your costs and claim only the work-related percentage.
Drink tea, coffee? Maybe have a Tim Tam with your morning tea break? It all sound very nice, but unfortunately those costs are private even if your employer does normally supply them at your place of work. Any items your employer reimburses you for can’t be claimed.
Your tax agent will help you sort out every single deduction you can claim, but there are a range of miscellaneous costs you might be eligible to claim, such as:
- Union fees
- Professional subscriptions
- Professional association fees
- Logbooks, diaries, pens and stationery
- Phone and internet costs
- The cost of managing your tax affairs
Don’t forget to keep a log book, work diary, travel diary or working from home diary to back up your claims. You might need to keep more than receipts, so keep a track of contracts, tax invoices, bank statements and any information from your financial institution.
You can only claim work-related costs you’ve already incurred and are out of pocket for and you have to be able to back up your claims. There’s no use missing tax deductions because you’ve forgotten to keep the correct paperwork.
ITP Tax Accountants help over 300,000 Australian individuals lodge their tax returns every year as well as make every single valid tax deduction – even ones you may never have thought of. Tax agent fees are 100% claimable, so what are you waiting for? Book your appointment and find out how you can save money on your tax today. Don’t pay more than you have to.