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Tax time 2020

17 June 2020

As we approach the end of the financial year, the ATO has released updated guidance documents to make tax time easier, particularly where new circumstances mean that people are receiving a different type of income or able to claim new deductions.

The impact of COVID-19 on work-related expenses

Working from home expenses

The ATO has already announced a temporary ‘short-cut method’ that applies from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. The short cut method makes it easier for the millions of Australians who have incurred some form of expense for working from home as a result of COVID-19. People claiming their working from home expenses using the shortcut method, should include the amount at the ‘other work-related expenses’ question in your tax return and include ‘COVID-hourly rate’ as the description.

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Protective clothing

Another deduction some people might be claiming due to COVID-19 is expenses for protective items required for work. Those working in jobs that require physical contact or close proximity with customers or clients during COVID-19 measures may be able to claim a deduction for items such as gloves, face masks, sanitiser or anti-bacterial spray if they have paid for the items and not been reimbursed.

Different income sources

JobKeeper, JobSeeker and stand down payments

Individuals who have received JobKeeper or one-off or regular stand down payments from their employer, don’t need to do anything different. The payments will be included on their income statement, which their employer provides directly to the ATO. If people aren’t sure whether these amounts have been included they should check with their employer.

JobSeeker payment information will be automatically loaded by the ATO at the Government Payments and Allowances question.

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For the building and construction sector, the ATO has also prepared industry resources to advise workers about what they can and can’t claim at tax time.

  • Tradie poster – guide to the expenses you can and cannot claim including car, travel, clothing and tools
  • Apprentice poster – guide to which expenses you can and cannot claim including car, self-education, clothing and tools
  • Office worker poster – guide to which expenses you can and cannot claim including car, travel, home office and clothing
  • Tax Time Toolkit 2020 – This toolkit contains five posters (apprentice, construction worker, engineer, office worker and tradie) and a general work-related expense guide for the sector.

Disclaimer: The information above is of a general nature only and does not consider your individual circumstances. MEA does not provide financial or tax advice. Always consult with your accountant.

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