Baggage handlers need a great deal of physical stamina in order to perform their duties and with the commencement of travel both nationally and overseas after the Covid-19 lockdowns it doesn’t take much imagination to understand how busy your job is. You might need to take extra shifts or work longer hours to cope with the influx. It pays to understand what tax deductions you can make to minimise the money you have over to the tax man. As a baggage handler, you might be surprised at how many deductions you can make.
Uniform and laundering
You may be required to wear a compulsory uniform for your job. Uniforms can include clothing that is distinctive to the company – such as heavy duty or hi vis pants, hats, logo shirts, jackets or a jumper. Any clothing that identifies you as working for your company or in your job can be claimed. You must have paid for your uniform yourself and not have been reimbursed by your employer for your claim to be eligible.
You’ll need to supply a copy of your employer’s uniform policy. If there is no uniform policy, you’ll need to describe the uniform you’re required to wear and copes of receipts to back up your claims.
If you’re not out of pocket for your uniform expenses, you can claim laundry, repairs and maintenance costs of your uniform.
- You can claim $1 per load if your load only contains work clothing
- Or 50 cents per load if your wash is a mix of private or work clothing
- If your laundry costs exceed $150, you’ll need to provide receipts
Pro Tax Tip: Don’t forget to keep a laundry diary of your wash loads and dates to back up your claims for laundering your work clothing.
The costs of laundering black pants, socks, white shorts, suits or stockings can’t be claimed even if you have to wear them for your job. Items of clothing that can be worn privately and are not job specific can’t be claimed.
As a baggage handler, there are hours when you’re required to work outside. If you’re out of pocket for sun protection items, such as sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, sun-protection clothing or jackets, you can claim those costs as a valid tax deduction.
Protective clothing you need to wear to prevent injury or illness are claimable items. Protective clothing includes steel-capped boots, high-vis vests, goggles, masks, ear muffs, gloves and winter outdoor jackets.
Pro Tax Tip: If you’ve had to rent a uniform or protective clothing for your job, these fees are tax deductible.
Licenses and self-education
Any licenses or educational courses you’ve needed to do for your job can be claimed. These include licenses such as fork lift, OH&S, management, First Aid, and machinery operating license renewals.
Pro Tax Tip: You’ll need a driver’s license as a pre-requisite to work as a baggage handler, but unfortunately the costs of obtaining a driver’s license are private and can’t be claimed. Any licenses and tests you’ve paid for before you start work as a baggage handler can’t be claimed either. You can only claim licenses and education that enable you to earn an assessable income for your current employment.
If you do need to upgrade skills and licenses while on the job, you may be able to claim the associated costs of travel, parking, course fees, books, stationery, internet, data and accommodation if required as well as any tools and equipment you needed to purchase to complete the license.
You may need to supply your own tools to use at work, or provide materials yourself such as safety gear, first aid equipment, backpacks or belt bags. Items $300 and under can be claimed in the year in which they occurred. Items over $300 may need to be depreciated over time.
Pro Tax Tip: Any software you’ve purchased to log and save your tax receipts can be claimed.
Meals and Travel
If you’ve been required to work overtime and have been paid an overtime meal allowance by your employer, you can claim up to $33.25 per meal (2023 year) without needing to keep a receipt. (You’ll still need to keep a logbook or food diary to justify your expense and show how much you spent.)
If you’re required to stay overnight and didn’t receive a travel allowance, you’ll be able to claim transport, meals and accommodation if you have retained all your receipts. If your employer has provided an allowance, you can claim the full amount of your expenses up to the amount of the allowance paid without requiring receipts but you’ll need to make sure the allowance is shown in your income statement and declared as income on your tax return.
Parking, tools, taxis, public transport and your car costs can be claimed if you’ve had to attend a workplace function or training course, or have had to travel between work places.
Pro Tax Tip: You can’t claim travel to and from work to your home. That expense is deemed to be private no matter how far you’ve had to travel.
Other tax deductions:
- Union fees
- Subscriptions to trade journals
- Travel between workplaces
- Cost of overtime meals
- Bank fees
- Income protection insurance
- Investment expenses
- The costs of managing your financial and tax affairs
In order to claim tax deductions you need to ensure that the expense has already been incurred. That it’s a work expense and not private in nature and that you have the records to prove your expense.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requests undisputed proof of your expenses, and can ask for proof up to five years after you’ve incurred the expense or from the date you lodged your tax return (whichever is later).
Pro Tax Tip: Electronic copies of your receipts and paperwork can be kept electronically as long as it’s a true and clear representation of the original. Make sure you keep a copy in the cloud or on a backup hard drive in case of data corruption.
Supporting documentation includes:
- Tax invoices
- Rental agreements
- Bank statements
- Log books for travel, car, work, laundry
- Copies of paperwork from government agencies
- Dividends or franking credits
ITP Accounting Professionals have helped Australian individuals and small business for over 50 years. We lodge over 300,000 tax returns every year, helping Aussie’s maximise their tax returns. If you’d like more detailed advise, chat with a friendly professional on 1800 367 487. After all, why pay more tax than you have to!