Retail Tax Deduction Tips

Retail work accounts for some 11% of Australia’s employment rate. With so many Aussies filling out their annual retail tax return each year, it’s important to know every tax deduction available to maximise your return. Here at Online Tax Return, we’ve compiled a helpful list of common items you can, and can’t, claim on your 2018 tax return.

Telephone Costs

If you are required to take or make calls from your personal phone for your retail job, you can claim the cost of these calls in your tax return. You need to record a log of these work calls to substantiate your claim in the event of a tax audit. The best method to do so is to use your monthly phone bill and work out the percentage of total work calls made and their cost from your total bill.

As a retail worker, you can’t claim a tax deduction for connecting a phone, as it is classed as a capital expense.

Association Fees

Retail workers can claim a tax deduction for union and professional association fees in their tax return. If your payment amount is shown on your payment summary, this can be used to substantiate your claim. However, this deduction cannot include joining fees or levies paid to assist families of employees suffering financial difficulties due to strike or being laid off.

Publication Purchases

You can claim a tax deduction for the cost of professional journals, periodicals or magazines with content related to your retail job. For example, a retail assistant at an IT store can claim a tax deduction for the purchase of a computer magazine, evidenced with a receipt.

Overtime Meals

While retail workers cannot claim a tax deduction for meals eaten throughout normal working days, you can claim an amount for overtime meals. This applies even if you receive a meal allowance to cover your normal meal expenses.

You must include amounts received as overtime meal allowance in item 2 within your tax return. This applies when you worked overtime and your employer paid you an overtime meal allowance under industrial law, agreement or award.

Grooming Products

Regardless of your retail work type, you cannot claim a tax deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, or care products. These items are classed as private expenses and should not be claimed in your tax return. This includes the cost to retail assistants expected to wear clothing that is not a distinct uniform.

Glasses and Contacts

Retail workers may claim the cost of protective eyewear such as sunglasses if you are required to work outdoors.

Asset Allowances

Often, retail managers or those within senior retails roles are required to use assets outside of their work. This can include:

  • Computers or software;
  • Calculators or organisers; and
  • Phones or telecommunication equipment.

For these items, you can claim them as a depreciating asset within your tax return. This tax deduction is worked out over the effective life of the item and the declining value of the equipment used for your work.

However, you cannot claim a deduction if the item is supplied to you by your employer. If you use your personal electronic device, like a laptop, at home to complete your role (like creating rosters etc) you will need to apportion the cost of using that item appropriately.

Let Online Tax Return Help

Are you a retail worker? We can help! Tax season often coincides with some of the busiest sales periods of the year, so if you’re short on time, Online Tax Return is a great option. Our team of registered tax agents will work with you to complete your tax return quickly and easily, maximising your tax deductions and return.

Don’t hesitate – contact us now to lodge today!

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice.