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What expenses can I claim without receipts?

It’s no secret that everyone wants to claim a deduction for the business expenses they’ve tallied up throughout the year. But what do you do when you have no receipts to show for your purchases? Well, the good news is that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) makes allowances for receipt-free deductions for some items. In fact, you can claim up to $300 for these expenses.

Travel expenses

If you’re self-employed and use your private vehicle for work-related activities – such as traveling between job sites or offices – don’t worry, you won’t need to hoard all your fuel receipts. Instead, keep track of how many kms you make in work-related trips throughout the financial year and claim a deduction using the cents per kilometre method. It’s worth noting that the ATO caps tax deductions using the cents per kilometre method to 5,000km of travel per financial year. If you think you travel more than this, you’ll need to keep a logbook – which is easy enough with the right app.

Uniforms and clothing

You can claim up to $150 each year on clothing you buy for work. This includes the cost of buying branded uniforms, protective gear, such as boots or sunglasses, and high-visibility clothing. You can also claim for any dry-cleaning fees you’ve incurred to keep work-related clothing clean. Any items valued over $150 and you’ll need a receipt.

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Home office expenses

Working from home certainly has its advantages but, as most sole traders would know, the costs of bringing your work home with you can start to add up over time. That’s why the ATO allows the rate per hour method – a fixed rate of 45 cents per hour for each hour you spend working from home. This covers all home office expenses you’d be eligible for with receipts – mortgage, electricity, internet, equipment, furniture – as well as the decline in value of equipment, such as desktop or notebook computer. Using the rate per hour method means you won’t be able to make additional claims for any relevant home office expenses you do have receipts for.

Good record keeping = simpler tax return

Getting into the good habit of keeping your receipts will save you a lot of time and stress at tax time. For a self-employed person, in particular, every cent counts and that includes how much tax you pay at the end of the financial year. Fortunately, there are plenty of great accounting tools out there that make record-keeping easy. For example, the QuickBooks mobile app features automatic receipt capture, so you can keep a paper trail without the paper. Simply snap, store, and organise your receipts on your phone, so everything’s in one place come tax time.

Understanding what you can and cannot claim without a receipt is useful when it comes to meeting your tax obligations. If you’re still not sure, avoid the hefty fine of getting it wrong and ask a professional for advice.

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