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Top Tax Deductions Every Teacher Should Know About
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By Ershad Ullah On August 23, 2023

As the end of the financial year approaches, tax season is just around the corner. For our nation’s educators, who have been tirelessly shaping the minds of the future, it’s essential to be aware of the various tax deductions that can help alleviate their financial burden.

Teachers often incur a variety of work-related expenses that can be deducted from their taxable income, ultimately reducing the amount of tax they need to pay. At Investax Group, we are passionate about sharing our accounting expertise to help you make the most of these deductions. In this article, we will dive into the top tax deductions every teacher should know about, from classroom supplies to professional development costs. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the complexities of tax season and keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. So, let’s get started on a path to a more tax-savvy future for educators with Investax Group by your side!

Various tax deductions exist for educators, and navigating them can be daunting, particularly when trying to determine which ones apply to your situation. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide: to ensure you’re well informed about the tax breaks available to you as a teacher, whether you’re a school teacher or another professional in the education sector.

To fully benefit from tax deductions for teachers, it’s crucial to ensure your work-related expenses qualify for such deductions. Keep your costs eligible by following these three essential guidelines:

Maintain evidence of your expenses, such as receipts or invoices
  • Ensure the expense is an out-of-pocket cost and not reimbursed by your employer.
  • Verify that the expense is directly related to your income-generating activities. For work and personal component expenses, claim a deduction only for the work-related portion.
  • Maintain evidence of your expenses, such as receipts or invoices. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allows an exception for minor purchases of $10 or less, up to $200, but you’ll still need to document these expenses, such as through a note in your personal log.

By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to maximising your tax deductions and making the most of your hard-earned income.

In the following section, we explore a variety of typical expenses that teachers and educators often encounter in their professional lives.

Travel and Food Expenses

You may claim tax deductions for cost of food & travels
  • Being a teacher, you may claim the cost of food when working overtime provided you have received a meal allowance from your employer based on an Industrial Award. And that allowance is shown separately on your PAYG certificate. You can claim the actual cost of the meal or up to the
  • Australian Taxation Office’s allowable limit without retaining receipts. Amounts claimed over that amount will need to be supported with receipts.
  • You may claim the cost of travel, including any parking, tolls, taxis, and public transport if you are travelling to or from meetings, seminars, conferences, or training that is not being held at your usual place of work.
  • If you must stay away from home overnight for the above purposes, you may be eligible for a tax claim for the accommodation cost and any meals consumed. You can talk to your tax accountant for more details.
  • You may claim the cost of your personal car if used for work purposes, including travel to meetings, conferences, or training, picking up teaching supplies, excursions, and sporting events that are not held at your usual place of work. If you do plan on claiming travel costs associated with your personal vehicle, then you should keep a diary of the number of kilometers you have travelled and review the various motor claim methods available.

Study Expenses

You may claim tax deductions for self-education and study expenses if the course is closely connected to your teaching profession and meets the following criteria:

• Enhances or maintains the skills and knowledge required for your current position.

• Is expected to result in increased income from your current job.

For instance, a course on supporting children with learning difficulties would qualify. However, tax deductions are only applicable if your studies have a loose connection to your current job or are intended to assist you in securing a new position.

Equipment and Tools Expenses

You can claim tax deductions for work related tools and equipment
  • You can claim tax deductions for work-related tools and equipment that cost less than $300 each on your taxes.
  • Items worth more than $300 each must be written down over their use time.
  • If you use an item partly for work and partly for personal use, you can only claim the part that is used for work.
  • Typically, teachers can receive a tax deduction for the following tools and equipment:
    • Computers, iPads, and cell phones are all examples of electronic gear.
    • Diaries, planners, and log books are examples of stationery.
    • Bags that carry briefcases and laptops

Clothing Expenses

  • As a teacher, you can claim the cost of your outfit if it has your employer’s logo on it.
  • You can claim a tax deduction for a number of teacher-specific safety clothing items, especially if you are a school teacher, such as:
    • Items for safety, like glasses and gloves.
    • Lab coats, aprons, and art smocks.
    • Clothing that protects from the sun and sunscreen during yard duty or outdoor playtime.
  • Normal clothing is not tax deductible, even if your employer needs you to wear certain items, such as business suits, specific coloured clothing, or certain brands or items your employer sells.
  • You can claim the cost of hiring, fixing, and cleaning any of the above-mentioned work-related or protective clothing as long as you follow these rules:
    • If your tax deduction for cleaning is less than $150, you don’t have to show anything in writing. The Australian Taxation Office figures that it costs $1 per load of work clothes to do washing and 50 cents per load for everything else.
    • You must keep records if you want to claim money for dry cleaning or clothing repairs.

Work From Home Expenses

  • If you work from home, you can claim a tax deduction for work-related costs. It would be best if you used the right way to keep the right records.
  • Even if your employer gives you coffee, tea, milk, and other home items at work, you can’t claim them. You also can’t claim things like a laptop or a phone that your employer gives you or anything that your company pays for or pays you back for.

Feel free to read one of our articles, “ What’s the deal with working from home

Teachers can also claim tax deductions for a number of other work-related costs, such as:

  • Registration Renewal Expenses
  • Phone and internet costs.
  • School trips, camps, and field trip expenses.
  • First aid classes.
  • Membership and dues to a union, such as the Teachers Federation.
  • Journal and paper subscriptions for professionals.
  • Newspapers that were bought to use in the classroom.
  • Costs for a home office refer to Home Office Expenses.
  • Using relevant and reference books to teach.
  • Timer watches.
  • The cost of conferences and seminars.
  • Costs for the phone and the internet, especially for the work-related portion only.

You cannot claim tax deductions for personal expenses such as gifts purchased for children, costs of lunches, field trips, school books, flu shots, or other immunization expenses, even if your job necessitates them. Additionally, deductions are not applicable if your employer has already covered the expense or reimbursed you for it.

General Expenses

Additionally, several universal tax deductions are available to all Australians, regardless of their profession.

  • Self-education.
  • Tax fees for agents.
  • Donations to charities that are listed.
  • Insurance to protect your income.

Keep Detailed Record

Before-tax time, it’s important to plan and keep track of what you spend. As a general rule, you can claim money you spent on work-related things that you didn’t get paid back for. No matter how long you’ve been teaching, or if this is your first year, you must keep a detailed record. You should know a lot about the tax system, so you know what you can and can’t claim on your taxes.

It’s important to do the planning and keep track of what you spend digitally or on paper

Please keep all of your receipts, bills, bank and credit card statements, and a log of the number of kilometers you traveled for work this year, when and where you went, and why it was work-related so that our tax experts can go through them with you. 

Most of the tax deductions teachers can claim are for out-of-pocket costs they paid for during the year and that their employers do not pay back. Teachers often pay for work-related costs out of their own pockets, just like many other workers. Teachers can usually get a tax deduction for these costs when they file their taxes.

As a teacher, tax deductions can significantly impact the amount you receive back from the government. It is crucial to partner with skilled tax accountants, such as those at Investax Group, who manage a substantial number of teaching professionals and have extensive experience in handling their taxes. Our tax accountants can assist you in navigating your tax deductions, organizing your tax affairs, and maximizing your tax returns to ensure you get the most out of all available deductions.

We offer a 15-minute free consultation to discuss your tax, property investment and business needs. Book your complimentary consultation now.
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