Do you run a home office?

19 June 2015
According to a recent Officeworks national survey, most of us could be doing a lot more to get a better tax refund.

While the research found that there is a clear desire from Australians to better understand their personal finances, with over two thirds (69%) of respondents recognising that increasing their knowledge in the space could help them maximise their tax return, only 25% of working Australians are being proactive at the end of financial year by purchasing key, claimable items that will help to maximise their tax return.

Tax deductions for home officeIf you run a home office, here are some tips to help you be tax-organised this year.

Know what you can claim

If you run a home office for work or study purposes, familiarise yourself with the items that may be tax deductible including office furniture, stationery, technology, software and a portion of utilities, phone bills, insurances and charitable donations. If you’re unsure, browse the Australian Tax Office website to keep up to date with changes and common deductions for your industry or study.

Ask your accountant

While most of us head to our accountant’s office after the end f financial year, it can be a great idea to get in touch before June 30! That way, you can put in place any investment and deduction strategies to maximise your return and implement it before 30 June.

Make your office space efficient

Make your office space efficient by investing in a filing cabinet, scanner, printer, filing trays and anything else needed to keep yourself organised. Remember most of these items may be deductible if you work from home! Being efficient means that you can more easily find any and all documentation you need for your tax – it reduces the chance of missing out on a deduction!

Know what portion of costs you can claim

Having a home office is different from having a home-based business and it’s important to know what you can claim and what proportion! Claiming on items used solely for work at home (such as accounting software or stationery) is straightforward. For costs that are split between personal and business use, such as your mobile phone or running costs, you’ll need evidence to support the proportion of cost you wish to claim. Keep an accurate record of home office expenses such as an itemised phone bill and a diary of car mileage or work-based equipment use over a minimum four-week period. Talk it all over with your accountant.

Pay your bills by June 30

Another tip to maximise your tax return is managing your bill payment schedule to fall within this financial year – the more tax deductible expenses you can pay by June 30, the bigger your tax refund could be!

Don’t claim the tax-free threshold twice!

If you work from home but also have a second job elsewhere, make sure you’re not accidentally claiming the tax-free threshold ($18,200) twice  – this could end up being a nasty tax shock!

Make use of online resources

There are plenty of great online resources you can check out, such as:

The ATO website

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