This blog explores what you can claim on your Tax Return to maximise your tax refund as a transport worker.
We’re here to make sure you maximise your tax refund. Whether that is by completing your Tax Return yourself using our online tax lodgement service or having one of our tax professionals complete your return for you.
What qualifies as a tax deduction?
For an expense to qualify as a tax deduction, it must meet the following three requirements:
- You must have spent the money and not have been reimbursed
- It must be related to your job
- You must have a record to prove it
A tax deduction reduces your taxable income meaning you’re taxed less.
What is your taxable income?
Taxable income is the money you earn, generally from your work or your employer, that you need to pay tax on. Taxable income includes the following:
- PAYG summaries
- Pensions and government allowances
- Interest earned (banks etc)
- Rental property income
- Business income
- Other income earned (capital gains etc)
Tax deductible expenses for transport workers:
Transport worker specific
- Buying work clothes/transport uniforms
- The cost to launder clothes/transport worker uniforms
- Protective clothing items required for your work, specifically steel cap boots or non-slip shoes
- Sunglasses to protect from glare
- Suncream or SPF moisturiser
- Purchase of equipment and tools up to $300
- Depreciation expense of equipment and tools over $300
- The repair and/or upkeep of tools and equipment related to your train or transport work
- Subscriptions where you can show a direct connection between your work duties and the content and the content is specific to your employment (eg, Trains magazine)
- Home office expenses (if needed/able to work from home to complete logs / reports etc)
- Overtime meals are deductible when you purchase a meal during overtime work. If you are paid an overtime meal allowance you would be able to claim a deduction to the value of this where you used it to purchase meals throughout the year during overtime
- Taxis, ride-share, public transport is deductible if you travel in the course of performing your work. For example, you take a taxi to a depot because you have reached your maximum driving hours
- Interest paid from loans relating to expenses incurred on work activities
- Self-education and courses related to rail safety, licenses or other aspects of your transport work as well as c/km vehicle claim to get to these courses
- First Aid Courses are deductible for train and transport workers
- Licences, certificates and compulsory assessments required for your transport work (please note you can’t claim the cost of your initial license, but everything thereafter is tax deductible)
- Fees for memberships to a union/other similar organisations
- Subscriptions and magazines relating to your transport work
- Travel expenses if work-related (overnight stays etc)
- Covid protective items (mask, hand sanitiser, etc)
Fines and Penalties
Unfortunately you cannot claim a tax deduction for any fines you get when you travel to work or during work. Fines may include parking and speeding fines or penalties.
Typically, the largest deduction transport workers can claim each year are travel expenses. If you spend your own money on work expenses such as toll roads or petrol, you can claim them on your Tax Return.
If the company you work for pays for these costs, you are unable to claim the expense as a deduction.
As a transport worker, eating on the road is a large part of the job. Certain transport workers may be able to claim meal allowances on their Tax Returns if they meet certain criteria.
You can claim your meals as a deduction if you are working overtime and you are not already receiving a meal allowance from your work.
If you are a transport worker that requires the use of protective gear or clothing, you may be eligible to deduct more from your taxable income. If your company does not already supply protective equipment and you are required to buy your own, you can claim the purchase as a tax deduction.
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Purchase of tools and equipment
Tools and equipment used for transport work that is valued at less than $300 can be claimed as a straight tax deduction. If the value of the tools or equipment is greater than $300, you are only able to claim the depreciation aspect of the goods.
These costs are typically covered by the employer but if you purchase the items yourself, they can be claimed as deductions.
Any costs that relate to obtaining your licences as a transport worker can be claimed on your Tax Return. This includes traveling to any testing centre if you drive using a c/km vehicle claim. You want to make sure that you are fully qualified for your work before claiming the expenses as deductions.
General tax deductions
General tax deductions that may apply to you are set out below. These are the basic tax deductions that most individuals are able to claim on their Tax Return.
- Car expenses and general wear if your car use is work-related (estimated Km or a logbook with all expense items),
- Travel expenses required for your work (flights, taxis, and trains, etc),
- Accommodation needed for work reasons (including meals),
- Work related phone bills,
- Work-related computing,
- Work from home costs,
- Insurances for work related equipment and Income protection insurance,
- Rental expense for your home office portion (if you are renting and require a home office),
- Charity donations and gifts,
- Sun protection (if you must work outside), and
- Tax agent and financial advisor fees.
Maximising your Tax Return with an online tax agent
There will be more tax tips and deductions for Australian transport workers that aren’t on this list. Tax deductions are not only industry-specific but also change from individual to individual.
There are more tax deductions that apply to Australian transport workers that are not listed above. Tax deductions do not only change from industry to industry but also from person to person.
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