Cleaners! The end of financial year is a time when you can clean up on overpaid work-expenses and claim back some money as tax deductions. So wipe down your tax return with these sparkling tax tips.
Tools and Equipment
You can’t do your cleaning job without the proper tools and unless you like to get down on your hands and knees and scrub a floor using elbow grease alone, you’ve probably bought a mop or two in your time working as a cleaner – not to mention purchasing vacuum cleaners, brushes, sponges, spray bottles, steam cleaners and/or industrial cleaners you’ve bought throughout the year. The list will seem as endless as the cleaning.
Disposable items, such as wipes, cleaning liquids, buckets and cleaning pads related to your work are tax deductible and can be added into the pool of tools and equipment that can be claimed.
Pro Tax Tip: Your equipment costs are the bulk of tax deductions for cleaners, however if you use your equipment for private use, don’t forget to portion out the business usage percentage of your costs.
You have to keep your equipment running in tip top condition. It’s good to know that the costs of repairing and maintaining your tools of trade are also claimable tax deductions.
Items bought as a individual employee at $300 or less can be claimed in the same financial year. These usually consist of lower cost items, such as cleaning chemicals, scrapers and blades, mops, wringers and buckets, carpet cleaning accessories.
Pro Tax Tip: You can’t claim tools and equipment that are supplied by your employer or another person or anything you’ve been reimbursed with.
Items over $300, such as more expensive equipment and heavy-duty tools such as pressure washers, blowers, floor polishing machines and steam cleaners will need to be depreciated over a number of years. Your tax agent will be able to tell you how many years the items will need to be depreciated, as well as the amount you’ll be able to claim if you’re not sure.
Pro Tax Tip: Ask your tax accountant if you’re eligible to claim tools and equipment using the instant asset threshold. The rules have changed, so a check in with your tax agent will help – clean – things up.
Uniforms and Protective Clothing
The type of work a cleaner does is in the title. You clean up all sorts of messes, making dirty things clean. This means that you’ll need to wear protective clothing, or you might become as dirty as the thing you’re cleaning, as well as keep you safe and protected from sometimes harsh chemicals you might have to use. Protective clothing, such as steel-capped boots, aprons, gloves, glasses, face shields, hats, hair nets, masks and sun protection can be claimed.
If you’re required to wear a uniform, you can claim the cost of those clothes if they’re not supplied to you by your employer.
The cost of washing and laundering your work clothes is a claimable deduction. Loads of only work clothes can be claimed at $1 per load, or if you mix your work clothes in with your private clothes, you’ll be able to claim 50 cents per load. The cost of repairs and maintenance for your work clothes are deductible expenses.
Pro Tax Tip: When it comes to claiming clothing, any garments that can be worn privately and are not distinctive work gear can’t be claimed. Those stylish black pants you bought for work? Sorry – not claimable. That polo shirt with your company logo you need to wear while you on the job? – go for it.
You’ll probably be doing a lot of driving when you work as a cleaner. That’s good news, because car expenses are high on your list of tax deductions. If you carry heavy or bulky items that can’t be stored on site, you’ll even be able to claim the trip from your home to a job. That’s something most people can’t claim.
You’ll also be able to claim your car trips between places of work. So if you have 2 or 3 house cleans per day, or 2 office jobs, then keep that log book – you can claim those trips as well as any road tools, parking fees and other associated costs.
Pro Tax Tip: Getting fined is bad luck, and something the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) doesn’t support. That fine you got while driving from job to job? That’s on you, lead-foot-Larry.
If you claim car expenses, you can use the log-book method or cents per kilometre method for claiming. Check out our blog ‘Car Expenses – What You Should Know To Reduce Your Tax’ for a detailed explanation.
Both methods will need a log book and receipts to validate your claims. Don’t forget, you’ll need to portion out your business versus private use and claim only the business portion of your car expenses. No claiming the trip to school when you drop off the kids.
Besides car and vehicle expenses, you might need to travel to do your job, or to go to a conference, seminar or to attend an educational course. Travel expenses include flights; bus, train and taxi fares; hire car costs; tolls and parking. If you need to stay away overnight or longer, you’ll be able to claim your accommodation and meals.
Learning new things keeps the mind alive, but there are occasions where you’ll need to update skills and accreditations in order to do your job. Claimable educational expenses need to directly relate to your job, and include course tuition fees, student union fees, stationery and books, equipment, phone calls and internet, car expenses as well as trade and academic publications.
You might need a space to study, or take on jobs. Some cleaners need to work from home, which leads to us toe deductible home office expenses. Home office expenses are divided into running and occupancy costs.
Home office expenses include electricity, gas, heating, cooling, phone, internet decline of value in office equipment and tools and if you hire a cleaner of your own for your office space, guess what? You can claim those costs as a tax deduction too.
There are more expenses that can be claimed when you work as a cleaner, and include subscriptions; memberships; union fees; gifts and donations; tax agent’s fees; personal super contributions; license renewals.
Download a pdf of the full list of what you can claim as a cleaner here.
Don’t forget you’ll need to back up your claims with receipts, bank statements, contracts, financial documentation and tax invoices. You can’t claim on expenses you haven’t incurred yet. You must have already spent the money and be out-of-pocket. You can’t claim costs you were reimbursed by your employer for, or allowance given to you for any work reason. Need some help come tax time? Our tax accountants have highly polished tax skills and won’t leave a tax deduction unturned. Phone 1800 367 487 and chat with a friendly professional today.