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Maximising your tax return this financial year

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Struggling to know what you can and can’t include in your tax return? Do you always forget things that you can claim and then remember when it is too late? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

We sat down with our Chief Financial Officer Sara to discuss tax returns, what can and can’t be claimed, and what Instructors need to remember when completing their tax return.

**DISCLAIMER** While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, information contained in this article may not be complete or may not be relevant to or appropriate for your circumstances. Readers should not rely on the information without seeking professional advice.

  1. What are some things that Instructors should ensure they remember to claim in this year’s tax return?

General
In general, anything required to put on a class is deductible. This includes music, microphone belts, batteries and towels.

Clothing
As an Instructor, if you are required to wear a fitness facility’s uniform you can deduct the cost along with the laundry of that clothing. Conventional fitness clothing is not deductible.

Workshops
If you attend Quarterly Workshops, the cost of the Workshop is deductible. 

Modules
If you attend Les Mills training it is deductible under Self-Education Expenses if you can show that it relates to current work activities, such as: 

  • the course maintains or improves a skill or specific knowledge required for your then current work activities;
  • the course was leading to, or was likely to lead to, increased income from your then current work activities or,
  • other circumstances existed which established a direct connection between the course and your then current work activities

It is not deductible if you don’t yet have a job that meets one of these conditions. It should also be noted that there may be a $250 reduction in your claim for Self-Education Expenses.

If you are required to travel for workshops or modules, the travel is also deductible.  If you stay away from home for workshops or modules, meals are also deductible for the time you are away (unless you extend your trip for personal travel).

  1. Is there anything you think Instructors may not realise or forget that they can claim on their tax return?

Batteries
If you operate any type of electronic equipment, you can claim batteries that power it – like an accountant and a calculator, for instance.

Travel
You can claim the cost of using your car for work-related travel if you travel:

  • directly between two separate workplaces because you have two different employers (for example, you have a second job)
  • for work related purposes from your normal workplace to an alternative workplace and back to your normal workplace or directly home (for example, if you need to go to meet with another client)

The easiest claim calculation is the cents per kilometre method. You can claim 66c/km for each work related kilometre travelled.When working out deductions using the cents per kilometre method:

  • you can claim only up to the first 5,000 business kilometres you travel
  • you do not need receipts or other written evidence but the ATO may ask you to show how you worked out your estimate of business kilometres – for example
    • by using a diary of work-related travel
    • by basing your costs on a regular pattern of travel
  1. How can Instructors maximise their tax return for 2018?

Tax law is complex. The more you have going on, the more jobs, the more training you do, the more likely you are to miss something. The ATO website has a lot of information, however what you are entitled to can still be confusing. Don’t hesitate to spend some time with an accountant asking lots of questions that relate to what you do and where you spend your money.

4. Is there anything that Instructors need to take in to consideration when lodging their tax return for 2018?

Lodge on time
If you lodge using an accountant you will have an extension of time to lodge your return. If you lodge it yourself, you need to lodge by 31st October each year to avoid a fine.

Keep evidence of your claims
If your total claims for deductions from your income as an employee add up to more than $300, you must keep written evidence, such as receipts.Your written evidence must show you incurred the full amount of your claim, not just the amount over the first $300. If the total amount you are claiming is $300 or less, you do not need to keep receipts, but you must be able to show how you worked out your claims.

  1. What about those Instructors who teach at multiple gyms or teach as a supplement to their full-time income? 

If you have multiple jobs, make sure that you only claim the Tax Free Threshold at your main place of work. If you claim this at multiple employers, you could end up with a surprise tax bill at the end of the year. This is elected on your Tax File Number (TFN) declaration when you start a new job, or you can ask your employer to complete a new form if your situation changes.

If you have a HELP debt, and multiple employers, you may wish to have extra tax taken out if you estimate that all of your income added together will push you over the HELP debt repayment threshold. You can find more information here:  https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/HELP,-TSL-and-SFSS-repayment-thresholds-and-rates/

 

For more information on general deductions, see the ATO website: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Income-and-deductions/In-detail/Deductions-for-specific-industries-and-occupations/Fitness-and-sporting-industry-employees--work-related-expenses/