Personal Tax Specialists

tax deductions for graphic designers or art directors

If you work as a graphic designer or art director, you don’t need to get creative to pay less tax. There are many legitimate tax deductions available to your profession, keeping extra cash in your pocket. Some of the tax deductions you may be able to claim on your personal tax return are:

Meals and Travel

As a graphic designer or art director you can claim for:

  • The cost of buying meals when you work overtime, provided you have been paid an allowance by your employer (you can claim for your meals without having to keep any receipts, provided you can show how you have calculated the amount you spent).
  • The cost of meals and incidental expenses when you are required to stay overnight for a work event (if you receive an allowance from your employer, you can claim the full amount of that allowance provided it is shown on your PAYG payment summary). If you didn’t receive an allowance, you should keep receipts to prove the amount you have spent on all meals and accommodation.
  • The cost of parking, tolls, taxis, and public transport if you are required to travel to attend seminars, meetings, and training courses (if you need to stay overnight, you can also claim for the cost of all meals and your accommodation).
  • The cost of using your own car for work, including traveling to clients’ premises, attending meetings, attending training courses, and collecting supplies for your business (to claim for car costs, it is usually best to keep a diary or log book recording the number of kilometres you travel during the year for work purposes. We can then calculate the amount of your tax deduction at the end of the year).

Work Clothing

When it comes to work clothing, these are the deductions you can claim as a graphic designer or art director:

  • The cost of buying compulsory uniforms for (including shirts, pants, skirts, jackets, jumpers – your uniform should have the business’s logo on it to ensure it is tax deductible). Conventional clothing is NOT deductible, even if your employer tells you to wear a certain style or quality of clothing.
  • The cost of laundry, dry cleaning, alterations, or repairs of your uniforms.
  • The cost of buying sun protection items if you are required to work outside at least part of the time (including sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen).

Training

As a graphic designer or art director you’re probably constantly learning new tools, software and skills. For training purposes, you may claim tax deductions for:

  • The cost of work-related short training courses, for example, training in new software packages, OH&S, and management skills, which are not run by a university or TAFE (you can also claim for the cost of travelling to and from the course, and any accommodation and meal expenses if you are required to stay overnight).
  • The cost of self-education courses run by a University (not including HECS/HELP fees) or TAFE (for example Bachelor of Arts, Graphic design, Communications, or Marketing). If you are studying, you can also claim for the cost of books, stationery, equipment, and travel required for your course.

Work Tools & Equipment

As a graphic designer and art director you rely heavily on your equipment. Here are tax deductions you can claim for on the tools you use:

  • The cost of buying and repairing equipment you use at work, including electronic organisers, laptop computers, work-specific graphic design software, and mobile phones.
  • The cost of any materials or supplies that you buy for use at work, for example memory cards, USB sticks, stationery, diaries, work bags, or briefcases.
  • Mememberships, subscriptions, books, phones, and Internet costs. 
  • The cost of annual association membership fees.
  • The cost of work-related magazines, journals, or books (these could include industry publications or resources purchased to conduct research for a project).
  • The cost of the work-related portion of your pay TV rental, where it is used for research in your job.
  • The cost of work-related mobile or home telephone calls and rental (you should keep a diary record of the number of phone calls you make for work for one month and then we can use that to estimate your usage for the whole year).
  • The cost of work-related internet connection fees (you can only claim the proportion of your monthly fees that relate to work use, which could include emailing or research relating to your job or training).
  • The cost of maintaining a home office if you are required to complete work at home (you should keep a diary to record how many hours per week you spend working from your home office)

General Expenses

There are some tax deductions that all employees, not just graphic designers and art directors can claim on their personal tax returns:

  • The amount of any donations to registered charities (as long as you haven’t received anything in return for your donation, such as raffle tickets or novelty items).
  • The cost of bank fees charged on any investment accounts.
  • The cost of income protection or sickness and accident insurance premiums (this type of insurance covers you if you hurt yourself (including when you are not at work) or become sick and you are unable to work. It will pay you your normal wage until you are fit to return to work – if you don’t have this insurance you should see a financial adviser, or ask us and we will refer you to someone who can arrange this insurance for you. It is definitely worthwhile).
  • Your tax agent fees (the amount you pay to your accountant to prepare your tax return each year).
  • The cost of travelling to see your tax agent (you can claim the cost of travelling to see your accountant to have your tax return prepared. You should keep a record of the number of kilometres you travel and any other incidental costs such as parking, meals, accommodation, etc.).

We suggest that graphic designers and art directors keep receipts for all purchases that are work related, even if they are not listed above. That way, when we prepare your tax return, we can decide whether you are allowed to claim a tax deduction for them or not.

Art directors and graphic designers have a range of tax deductions available to them. Make sure you’re claiming everything you legally can. If you would like any more information about the deductions listed or if you would like the Personal Tax Specialists team to prepare your tax return for you to ensure you maximise your claims this year, contact us at info@personaltaxspecialists.com.au or get started by lodging your tax return online now.

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