ATO targets work expenses in 2011

This article was published at http://savingmoneyexpert.com.au/features/in-the-news/tax-time/ato-targets-work-expenses-in-2011 on 4 July 2011

As you start thinking about gathering up all of your receipts, filling in your tax return and spending your tax refund, beware of making large claims for your work expenses unless you have kept good records.

Tracey Collins, from Personal Tax Specialists, says “the Tax Office has announced that they will be paying close attention to the work expenses claimed by workers in four major industries this year. This doesn’t mean if you work in one of these jobs you shouldn’t make any claims, but you do need to be extra careful about what you claim and the records that you need to keep to prove your claims.”

This year the Tax Office will be carefully monitoring tax returns lodged by:

  • Flight attendants,
  • Real estate employees,
  • Earth moving plant operators, or
  • Building and construction employees, including apprentices and trainees

The main reason these industries have been targeted is that many employees working in these jobs claim large deductions for motor vehicle and travel expenses.

But just because the Tax Office is targeting these occupations doesn’t mean the rest of us are off the hook. Anyone who makes large claims or claims that are unusual for their occupation needs to be careful.

So at the very minimum, the records we all need to have to document our work expenses are:

  • receipts for all work expenses costing $10 or more (an electronic copy or even a photo of a receipt is fine)
  • a diary record of any minor work expenses (costing $10 or less and up to a total of $200 for the year) where you haven’t kept the receipt
  • a diary record of any work related trips you have made in your personal car
  • a diary record of your internet use for work for one month during the year
  • a diary record of your telephone use (mobile and home) for work for one month during the year

No matter what job you do, make sure you know exactly what you are allowed to claim, fill in your tax return correctly and keep the proper records and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

If you’re not sure exactly what you can claim, have a look at the Personal Tax Specialists’ website http://personaltaxspecialists.com.au/what-deductions-can-you-claim where you can find the specific tax deductions allowed for over 30 occupations, including those the Tax Office is targeting.

And for more information about claiming for work expenses or to get help with preparing your 2011 tax return, contact Personal Tax Specialists Pty Ltd at admin@personaltaxspecialists.com.au or 1300 335 675.

As a special offer for ‘Saving Money Expert’ readers, Personal Tax Specialists will give every new client who joins us before 31st August 2011 a $25 credit to be used towards their 2011 tax return fee. To take advantage of this special offer, go to http://personaltaxspecialists.com.au/become-a-client-now and complete the New Client Form today. Don’t forget to mention ‘Saving Money Expert’ referred you. (Note – there is a limit of one $25 credit per client)

Tracey Collins, for the Personal Tax Specialists team
Personal Tax Specialists Pty Ltd

Your time and tree friendly tax accountants

Phone 1300 335 675 – Email admin@personaltaxspecialists.com.au
www.personaltaxspecialists.com.au