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Tax Deductions for Members of the Australian Defence Force

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A Guide by Bottrell Accountants, Tax Agents & Financial Planners.

In the realm of tax deductions for Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, understanding what can be claimed is vital for optimising your tax outcome. Bottrell Business Consultants presents a comprehensive guide on eligible deductions for ADF members when preparing to lodge a tax return.

Our dedicated team at Bottrell Business Consultants is committed to providing ADF members with expert advice and personalised assistance, ensuring a seamless and optimised tax filing experience.

Car and Travel Expenses:

ADF members using their cars for duty-related activities can claim associated expenses. Keeping a detailed record of travel is crucial, and the cents-per-kilometre method (currently 78 cents per kilometre) is commonly utilized. Claims are capped at 5,000 work kilometres per car, with a diary of work-related travel serving as evidence.

What You Can’t Claim:

Trips between home and work, even outside regular working hours.

Clothing, Laundry, and Dry-cleaning Expenses:

While ADF members receive a uniform allowance (treated as income), deductions are allowed for uniform purchase, repair, maintenance, and laundry. Compulsory military uniform items are claimable, but conventional clothing and footwear usually are not.

What You Can’t Claim:

Non-compulsory uniform items, underwear, regular fashion shoes, and non-uniform accessories.

Protective Clothing:

Claims for protective clothing are permissible if it safeguards both the individual and the uniform from danger or injury. Expenses for items like sunglasses, sunhats, and sunscreens are allowable for those exposed to sunlight during work.

What You Can’t Claim:

Costs of protective clothing provided by the employer are not claimable.

Laundry and Maintenance:

Regardless of uniform origin (purchased or provided), expenses for cleaning and maintenance, including laundromat, home laundry, and dry-cleaning, are deductible.

What You Can’t Claim:

Uniform maintenance allowance needs to be included as income in the tax return, even though expenses can still be deducted with evidence.

Mess Fees and Functions:

A portion of compulsory mess subscriptions related to work activities is claimable. However, expenses for food, drink, or travel to and from mess functions are non-deductible.

What You Can’t Claim:

Personal expenses related to food, drink, or entertainment.

Self-education Expenses:

Deductions for self-education expenses (fees, travel, books, and equipment) are allowed if directly related to current work activities. However, courses covered through HECS are non-claimable.

What You Can’t Claim:

Self-education aimed at securing a new job outside the ADF is non-deductible.

Physical Training and Fitness Expenses:

While generally considered private, members of special combat squads demonstrating the necessity for an enhanced fitness level may claim fitness expenses. Personal gym memberships are non-deductible.

What You Can’t Claim:

Routine fitness expenses, such as personal gym memberships.

Phone Expenses:

Deductions for phone bills incurred for work-related calls or texts are permitted. Claims are limited to work-related costs, and if a phone allowance is provided, only costs exceeding the allowance are deductible. A copy if a phone A/C Itemised with work calls highlighted.

What You Can’t Claim:

Phone costs covered by a provided allowance or prepaid SIM card.

Home Office Expenses:

Partial deductions for items like computers, printers, and phones used for work at home are allowed. Running costs, including work-related calls, internet charges, and electricity, are claimable based on the percentage of home office usage.

What You Can’t Claim:

Occupancy expenses like rent, mortgage interest, council rates, and house insurance premiums are generally non-deductible.

Computer Expenses:

If used for work, the cost of purchasing a computer is deductible, with depreciation claimed for items over $300. Repair and maintenance costs, as well as internet access, may also be deductible.

What You Can’t Claim:

If the employer reimbursed the computer cost, it cannot be claimed as a deduction.

Other Deductible Expenses:

Additional deductible expenses for ADF members include Extra Regimental Duties (ERD), technical or professional publications, union and professional association fees, and tax agent fees.

What You Can’t Claim:

Non-deductible expenses include glasses and contact lenses, haircuts, meals, social functions, weight loss expenses, and standard watches and timepieces. However, special-use watches can be claimed for depreciation.

About Bottrell Accountants, Tax Agents & Financial Planners

Our Accountants office, founded by Director Gavin Bottrell in June 2012, offers a range of advice services, including Personal Tax Returnsaccounting, SMSF, business advice, and business growth to small, medium, and large businesses as well as individuals across Australia.

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Bottrell are your local team providing expert Tax Advice, Accounting, Audit, Bookkeeping, SMSF & Financial Planning services.

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Take the first step towards maximising your tax refund – contact us today at Bottrell Accounting. Our dedicated team is ready to assist clients like you. Call us at 4933 6888 to schedule an in-person, phone, email or Zoom appointment.

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