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Overlooked tax deductions worthy of your attention

If you think you are taking advantage of the usual tax deductions to help you save
money, you might be surprised to find out there may be more options that you
may be entitled to but have been neglected over time.

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the average annual claims of
real estate agents in tax returns are above the national average and even more
compared to other categories in the labor sector, there may be even more tax
deductions that hare overlooked which could provide additional savings in annual
tax returns.

Aside from the usual deductions such as advertising, work-related travel, mobile
phones, home office expenses, and licensing, there are a few more that may have
slipped through your fingers.

Property presentation expenses

A claim for deduction can be made on property presentation costs if you spent
money in preparing for an open house and have not been reimbursed for your
expenses. It may cover the amount spent on property cleaning and purchase cost
of decorative items such as plants and flowers used to spruce up the area.
Greeting cards and gift items

A property manager or real estate agent who is entitled to earn commissions can
claim a deduction for gifts and greeting cards intended for work-related use given
out to clients, owners, tenants, and suppliers.

Allowable gift items include wine or whiskey, gift vouchers, perfume, hampers,
pen sets, and flowers. However, entertainment gifts are not covered such as movie
tickets, stage plays, movies, sporting events, amusement parks and centers, and
holiday vouchers.

Advertising and marketing equipment

A portion of the cost of marketing equipment used for work-related activities
purchased and used from the previous financial year can be entitled to a tax
deduction claim. This includes costs for professional cameras, virtual reality                                                                                                  goggles, and drones, just to name a few, as well as costs incurred for repairs made
on the equipment.

For purchases made amounting to $300 or less on such marketing equipment, a
claim for the full amount can be made. A claim for depreciation deduction can be
made if the item costs more than $300.

Similarly, advertising costs can also be subject to tax deduction especially if you
have spent advertising on a property and have not been reimbursed by your
employer. The claims cover cost for letterbox drops, newspaper ads, bunting, and
signage.

Personal work-related accessories

A real estate agent may also file for a tax deduction on money spent on
purchasing work-related accessories such as satchel, briefcase, or handbag used
primarily to carry your work-related tools such as laptops, tablets, and documents.

For those using these bags outside of work, the ATO recommends keeping a log
to record the times they were used for work or otherwise so that a reasonable
deduction calculation can be made come tax season.

Newspaper and industry publication subscriptions

A lot of professionals have neglected this, but publication subscriptions that
contain work-related pages or content are entitled to deduction claims, however,
for those that publish work-related content on a scheduled weekly or monthly
dates, the deductions are calculated only for those days the related content is
printed.

Clothes, dry cleaning, and laundry services

Claims can be made for the purchase of clothes used for work, as well as cleaning
and upkeep for those clothing items. These include shirts, pants, blouses, dresses,
jumpers, or skirts that have the company’s logo, as well as socks, shoes, and
stockings that may be considered as a uniform or company’s dress code policy.

Tax agent fees

Using a registered tax agent or any related online service to prepare and process
your tax returns for the previous year is qualified for a tax deduction claim, under
section D10 for the cost of managing tax affairs.

Self-education and career improvement training

Costs incurred for pursuing industry-related career development training and
educations are entitled to deductions from a portion of the course or subject
tuition. Additionally, related expenses such as travel for class attendance, phone
calls, stationery, and books can also deductible.

Donations to charities or political parties

Tax deduction claims can be made for contributions or donations of $2 or more to
charities, political parties, and other approved organisations recognized by the
ATO. It is required, however, to ensure that the receipt made for the donation
should indicate that it is tax-deductible.

Also, no deduction claims can be made if you received something in return for the
contribution or donation such as movies or raffle tickets.

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