Monthly Archives: March 2016

Tax deduction secrets that women need to know

by Bianca Hartge-Hazelman

Tax isn’t sexy, but talk shopping and tax deductions, and then you’ve got something most women want.

Handbags, gloves, makeup, clothes, sunglasses, sunscreen and hats may all be tax deductible but the success really depends on meeting the ATO’s three golden rules:

  • You must’ve spent the money yourself

  • The expense must be related to your work and;

  • You need to have a record to prove it.

Assistant Commissioner at the Australian Tax Office Graham Whyte told Financy the purchase of handbags used to carry work items, such as papers and electronic devices, could be tax deductible. This is despite earlier reports which suggested that this couldn’t be done.

But he added that a wallet, purse, and business suits are unlikely to be successfully claimed.

A wallet or business suit will usually be considered private, even though in many professional circumstances it may be an expected component of work,” said Mr Whyte.

Whitehead Dingley & Betar partner and chartered accountant Kate Hills says the most common items that women claim tax deductions for are sunglasses, driving gloves, sunscreen and bags.

Flight attendants 

Clothing is not usually tax deductible because it’s a private expense in that we all need clothes. However there have been successful claims made for extraordinary items.

The courts have consistently looked for ‘additional features’ which would take these purchases out of the category of private expenditure,” said Ms Hills.

For example, in the Mansfield Case, the taxpayer, who was a flight attendant, purchased conventional shoes for work.

These shoes needed to be a half-size too big for ordinary use due to the cabin pressure of the aircraft.

They were also subject to regular scuffing while working on the aircraft.

The courts allowed a tax deduction due to ‘additional features’ which took the purchase out of the category of private expenditure.”

Sales reps, construction work and couriers

Protective clothing can also be tax deductible but only if the items protect you from the risk of ‘illness or injury’ while at work.

For example, a woman working as a courier or in a sales role, who spends most of her time in the car visiting clients, could claim the purchase of driving gloves, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect her from the sun whilst in the car,” said Ms Hills. 

This could also apply to a women who works for a construction company as a project manager and spends are large portion of her time exposed to the sun whilst visiting construction sites.

In addition to the above purchases, she may also have expenditure on a sun hat.”

Make up and the arts

Makeup is much easier for performing artist to claim, such as actors, musicians or presenters on stage, film and television. But for everyone else, it’s a lot tougher.

This is because makeup and other grooming items are private everyday expenses, and not necessarily needed at work.

The courts have been known to even deny the claims of flight attendants, despite the need to look presentable, and hairdressers, where claims for personal hair expenses have been made.