Last minute tax tips for your clients

It’s almost the end of the financial year, but it’s not too late to implement strategies to lower your client's tax burden.

Over 3 million Australians claim a tax deduction for their home office, and a 2014 study showed that of the 11.7 million employed people aged 15 years and over, 44%* accessed the internet for home based work in the last 3 months. This number is set to rise, with working from home being more popular than ever. If your clients haven’t been keeping a record of their utility costs, they can contact their providers for the year’s statements. They can then work out the percentage of time used in their home office, and claim a portion of these bills.

There are many items which are claimable, but many people are unaware of what they are. Have your clients recently purchased a computer, phone or home office furniture? Subscriptions to publications or course costs? They may even be able to claim their new pair of sunnies if their job involves being outside. They can consult an accountant to find out exactly what they are able to claim.

If your clients haven’t been keeping physical receipts throughout the year, they can search through their inbox to find electronic receipts of purchases that have been sent to them. It’s a good idea for them to keep a spreadsheet of their expenses, rather than just the receipts as it will save time at the end of the financial year so their accountant doesn’t have to wade through boxes of paper to do their job. There are even apps for phones that capture information as purchases are made, so there’s no excuse for them to not be organised!

Disclaimer: This information is for discussion only, and is not to be construed as providing advice. It is recommended that your clients seek independent taxation advice, before taking any action.
*Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2014-15