Top tax saving strategies

Burford PartnersFeatured, Taxation

Planning on giving to charity?

Make a donation now and claim the deduction this year. If you donate monthly to charities, think about paying the full year’s worth of donations upfront and take the deduction now.

Work related deductions

You can claim a deduction for business expenses you have incurred that have not been paid by your employer. But be careful, you need to be certain that what you are claiming is a legitimate business expense and able to be claimed. For example, you cannot claim the cost of dry cleaning the clothes you wear to work unless it is protective clothing, a uniform required by the business, or occupation specific clothing (like the checked pants some chefs wear).

To be legitimate, the expense must be for something you need to do your job. Items like laptop bags have been in the news lately because some handbags can be used to carry laptops. This does not mean that your Gucci bag is suddenly deductible. It is really up to you to justify the deduction that you are claiming, keeping records of the actual usage of the item can help with this.

Home office expenses

If you work from home as part of your employment, you may be able to claim items such as phone expenses, running costs for your home, and equipment. Just bear in mind that expenses need to be in proportion to your use of the home for work purposes. If your home is a place of business and you are entitled to claim a deduction for interest expenses or rent, then this will generally impact on your ability to claim the full main residence exemption from CGT when you sell the home.

Operate through a company?

If you operate through a company structure and the company has advanced you money during the year or paid expenses on your behalf, then work out whether you are going to repay the loans or put in place a complying loan arrangement. If you already have loan agreements in place from prior years, make sure that you make the minimum repayment (including interest) before June 30. If the company normally declares a dividend to cover these loan repayments, make sure the dividend is declared and set-off against the loan balance before 30 June.

Prepayments

For business, if cash flow allows, now is the time to accelerate deductions by paying for any required repairs, replenishing consumable supplies, trade gifts or donations before 30 June.

Earning extra cash from AirBNB style services

-The tax treatment of what you earn by renting all or part of your house through AirBNB and similar services is the same as any other residential rental property arrangement. You must include the rental income in your income tax return, but you can also claim tax deductions for expenses associated to the rental, such as the interest on your home loan, professional cleaning, fees charged by the facilitator, council rates, and insurance. Expense claims need to be in proportion to the rental, that is, how much of the house is used and for how long. Also, beware that this type of activity can restrict your ability to claim the CGT main residence exemption when you sell the property if it is or has been your home.