Australia jobs: These occupations grab the biggest work-related tax deductions

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Nurse
Registered Nurse Rebecca Moak poses for a photo in trauma center of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi October 4, 2013. Reuters/Jonathan Bachman

An online service provider has revealed the occupations that claim the biggest tax deductions in Australia. Real estate agents and lawyers topped the list, claiming $8,634 and $7,156, respectively.

A new analysis of Australian Taxation Office data by Etax.com.au examined several common jobs. It found that teachers claimed an average $3164 and nurses claimed $2,622.

The figures also show that the average Aussie claims $3,041 of deductions on their tax return. Truck drivers claimed $5,059, trades people at $4,871 and farmers at $4,428.

Etax.com.au senior tax agent Simone Gielis said that many of the biggest claims were from occupations where work-related travel was common. Gielis explained that real estate agents have the largest average deduction due to the nature of their work, which requires a lot of expenses including incidental out-of-pocket cost and travel and car expenses. They are also required to renew their certifications and licences annually.

The situation is the same for lawyers who have expenses related to travelling to visit clients, self-education and annual professional fees. They are “more charitable” compared to the average working Aussie, claiming $1,173 worth of gifts and donations annually, whereas the national average is $650.

Trades people, on the other hand, have tools and technical equipment. Checkout operators, who have minimal expenses, have lower claims as seen in the occupation's average deduction of $814.

Gielis said bigger deductions can be achieved by embracing technology like mobile apps that can help monitor spending. “If you throw out that $1000 receipt and it turns out you could have used it for a tax deduction, you’ve just cost yourself hundreds of dollars,” news.com.au quotes her as saying.

ASIC’s senior executive leader for financial capability Laura Higgins agreed that record keeping is important and people must utilise tools and technology to monitor spending. Tracking one’s spending, she said, must be done throughout the year, not just during tax time. She recommends referring to the guides available on ato.gov.au and seek professional help.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s moneysmart.gov.au site lists three key rules for claiming work-related expenses. One is that worker must have spent the money and not been reimbursed. It should also be directly related to earning a worker’s income.

Lastly, a worker must have a record to prove what he paid for. The ATO has produced nearly 40 various occupation specific guides from police and adult industry workers to teachers and engineers.

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