Tax tips for teachers: What you can and can’t claim on your tax return

Tax tips for teachers: What you can and can’t claim on your tax return

When it comes to work related expenses, it’s common for teachers to foot the bill. As tax time rolls around, the good news is that a lot of teacher-related expenses are tax deductible.

A quick note on tax deductions

Before we jump into the nitty gritty of what you can and cannot claim on your tax return, there are general rules for tax deductions you should keep in mind. You can only claim expenses that:

  • directly relate to your work;
  • you have NOT been reimbursed for;
  • and you have kept records for.

Travel expenses

Whether it’s public transport or driving your own car, there are a lot of situations where you can claim travel on your tax return.

Trips you can claim:

  • Travelling to and from alternative workplaces (e.g. from school to a sporting ground)
  • Travelling to a second job
  • Travelling to eligible courses, seminars and conferences

Trips you cannot claim:

  • Your normal trip from home to work and vice versa is considered private travel.

On the claimable trips, associated costs such as tolls and parking are also claimable.

Home office expenses

For the time you spend working outside of school, including lesson prep and marking exam papers at home, you can claim:

  • Home office running costs. This is calculated at 52 cents/hour currently (starting 1 July 2018) if you have a designated study area at home.
  • The cost of laptops, tablets, printers and other assets (excluding private usage)*
  • Use of home internet plans for work (excluding private usage)
  • Use of personal mobile plans for work (exclude private usage)
  • Repairs to deductible office equipment

*You can claim the asset in whole in the year of purchase if its cost is under $300. Assets above $300 will need to be depreciated

What you cannot claim:

  • Private (non-work related) portion of assets and expenses

Cost of teacher resources and training

Stationery and printing costs are two resources you can claim on tax. You can also claim:

  • Magazine and journal subscriptions, as long as they are specific to your area of teaching
  • Self-education courses and educational books. These must be specific to your area of teaching, and has to have relevance to your current work. (e.g. A PE teacher can’t claim a course on coding)
  • The cost of attending conferences or seminars (as long as they directly relate to your area of teaching)
  • Cost of lab wear, uniform with a logo, protective gear, and sun protection (if you are required to work outside). This includes purchase and laundry

What you cannot claim:

  • Gifts purchased for students
  • Newspapers
  • Everyday clothes

Other expenses you can claim

  • Union fees
  • Working with children checks
  • Excursion and camp costs
  • The cost of annual teaching membership/certificates
  • Workplace givings to approved charities

Next steps

To find out more about how to claim your tax return, speak to one of our expert tax accountants.