Tax deductions for nurses
03/10/2017 Kezia Eman, Accountant
Nursing is a specialist profession with a number of specific job requirements that aren’t necessarily shared with other professional occupations. While many deductions that are allowable for nurses are available to most working Australians, there are deductions available to nurses which are more unique to the profession than they would be to any other; you wouldn’t need a fob watch as a construction worker, would you?
So what exactly can you claim as a nurse? Let’s break down a few common deductions you can and can’t make.
Union fees and professional associations
Nurses can claim a deduction on the annual fees they may pay for membership to unions or professional associations/bodies, although a deduction on joining fees is not available. You also cannot claim any contributions you may make to staff social clubs.
If you use your home internet for professional development, you can claim the proportion of your monthly fees that is strictly related to work use. This could include emailing, research relating to your job and research for your training courses.
Provided you have been paid an allowance by your employer you can claim up to a maximum of $30.05 (2018 rate) per meal without having to keep any receipts, as long as you can show how you have calculated the amount you spent.
Personal car used to travel between jobs
Traveling between home and work is generally considered private in nature, but if you need to use your personal car to travel between work sites (e.g. from one hospital to another), you may be able to claim the expense of this travel. More information on claiming motor-vehicle deductions can be found in this blog post.
Uniform and Protective clothing
A deduction is allowable for the cost of the uniform if the clothing is protective in nature, occupation specific and not conventional in nature, i.e. compulsory uniform. This deduction can also include laundering costs (claims under $150 require no records. If you are claiming the cost of repairs or dry cleaning, you need to have receipts).
Protective clothing can also include safety items such as protective glasses, non-slip nursing shoes, lab coats, aprons and gloves.
Training and self-education
If you pay to attend work-related training, such as a short course that is not run by a university or TAFE (for example first aid, OH&S), you can usually claim this as a tax deduction. You can also claim the cost of self-education course run by a university (not including HECS/HELP fees) or TAFE provided it is directly related to your current work.
Studies directly related to your current job as a nurse that may lead to an increase in income are tax deductible. Self-education cannot be claimed if it is to obtain a new job, start a business or indulge a hobby or passion you have – such as flower arranging.
Computer and other equipment
Nurses, like most other employees, are able to claim a deduction for depreciation of computers and related software (if purchased together) that are used for work-related purposes. If the software is bought separately from the computer, a deduction is allowable in full in the year of purchase. Any deduction must be apportioned between work-related and private use.
In the case of other equipment, a deduction is allowable on the depreciation of equipment owned and used by a nursing employee during the year for income-producing purposes. In addition, a deduction for depreciation is allowable on items of equipment that are not actually used during the year for income-producing purposes but are installed ready for use for that purpose and held in reserve. A deduction for the cost of the equipment is not allowable.
A deduction is allowable for the cost of buying log books, diaries, etc., to the extent to which they are used for work-related purposes.
Books and journals
Good news! If you’re an avid reader of content specifically related to your nursing career, you can claim the cost of buying or subscribing to journals, periodicals and magazines that are related to your employment (and are not general in nature).
Work related phone
Like many other professions, nurses are able to claim work-related phone use as a deduction. We’ve written a blog on how this can be done, here.
A deduction is allowable for depreciation and maintenance of specialist watches, such as a fob watch used by a nursing employee. Where a fob watch is purchased after 1 July 1991 and the cost of the fob watch is less than $300, an immediate 100% deduction for depreciation is allowable.
A deduction for the cost and maintenance of a conventional wrist watch is not allowable.
Vaccinations are designed to cover diseases that any taxpayer from the general community can catch therefore they are considered personal medical expenses (private in nature) that can’t be directly related to any individual taxpayer’s occupation. Therefore, a deduction is not allowable for the cost of vaccinations as a precaution for nursing employees against contracting infectious diseases. The ATO backs up this view regarding nurses in TR 95/15.
What records do I need to keep?
If you’re planning to make deductions this tax season, you will need to ensure you keep records to substantiate your claims. While not all deductions require receipts, it doesn’t hurt to keep them on hand just in case. Make sure you note down your work related purchases/payments, with comments on the total cost, what these costs are associated with and the date the cost was incurred.
The Hopkins Group’s accounting team is on hand to help you make the most out of your return, come tax time. With so many deductions available to you, getting a helping hand from an expert can put you in good stead to reap the most out of your return for the least amount of effort. To learn more about how our team can help you this tax time, contact us today!
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal advice. You should not act on any recommendation without considering your personal needs, circumstances and objectives. We recommend you obtain professional financial advice specific to your circumstances.
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