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Claiming Your Mobile Phone as a Work-Related Deduction

Most people would know that you are able to claim your mobile phone expenses as a work-related deduction, however there is often confusion around how much can be claimed and how the claim can be supported. To help clear this up a little, here is what we do with your mobile phone expense claims at The Hopkins Group.

First of all to be able to claim work-related deductions the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a few requirements:

  • You must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed
  • It must be related to your job
  • You must have a record to prove it (there are some exceptions to this rule)

When considering mobile phone expenses, we break claims down into two categories, split by how much you intend to claim.

Claiming under $50

If you use your phone for the odd phone call or text message, you can calculate your deduction using the following from the ATO:

  • $0.75 for work calls made from mobile, and
  • $0.10 for text messages sent from your mobile.


On occasion Jane uses her phone for work, making on average three calls and ten text messages a month. This works out to be:

3 calls x 11 months x $0.75 = $24.75

10 SMS x 11 months x $0.10 = $11.00

Overall Jane can claim a deduction of $35.75

Why 11 months? The ATO makes the assumption that Jane has taken the four weeks annual leave allocated to her during her working year, bringing 12 months down to 11.

Claiming above $50

For those that use their phone more regularly, you are required to keep a record of all work-related calls and messages. To work out how much you can claim, the easiest option is to identify on an itemised bill the percentage of work-related calls made from your phone or the percentage of time the phone is used for work purposes.


Bob is on a $70 per month phone plan. To claim some of this cost, he goes through one of his bills and determines that 60% of his calls are work-related.

Bob is able to claim:

$70 x 11 months = $770

$770 x 60% = $462

If you don’t receive an itemised phone bill, don’t despair — it is still possible to claim your phone expenses. To do so, you will be required to keep a log book of your calls for a four week period, showing all calls made and the nature of each call.


Phoebe uses a prepaid mobile, which costs her $40 each month. Phoebe keeps a record over four weeks of all her calls and calculates that 30% of her calls are work related.

Therefore, Phoebe can claim:

$40 x 11 months = $440

$440 x 30% = $132

Substantiation of claims has been a focus of our accounting team, as we work with clients to ensure that we ask the right questions and that you have the right information on file for your claims. As a general rule any deductions you intend to claim need to have supporting documents, except for those under $50. These documents need to be kept for up to five years.

If you have questions about claiming work-related deductions such as mobile phone usage, please don’t hesitate to contact The Hopkins Group Accounting Team.

Abigail Lee is an accountant with The Hopkins Group (John Hopkins Accounting Pty Ltd). This blog post contains general advice only, which has been prepared without taking into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. You should, therefore, consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your own objectives, financial situation or needs.

Much ado about Brisbane

Sydney may have the harbour and Melbourne’s known for its graffiti laneways, but why is everyone talking about Brisbane at the moment?

From an investor’s point of view, it has so much to offer. Strong economy? Tick.  Increase in council approvals? Tick. Growing population? Tick.

As investors are being priced out of the market in Melbourne and Sydney, attention is turning to Brisbane where it is still affordable to invest in property. However, it won’t stay like this forever. Prices are rising and it won’t be long before Brisbane catches up to the other major metropolises. Median house prices have increased to $610,000 and auction clearance rates have also steadily increased.

So the time to strike is now. Conditions are ripe for exploring opportunities in Brisbane thanks to a number of factors.

Population growth

Queensland’s population is growing – but where are they all going to live?

Previously, the sunshine state’s population growth has been stimulated through overseas migration and natural births. However, with the cost of living in Sydney becoming unaffordable, the recent increase in population can be linked to the number of people moving north from Australia’s major cities. Queensland is experiencing the highest percentage of interstate migration than any other state as people seek a ‘sea change’ and more affordable lifestyles and housing. This in turn creates long term demand for housing and opportunities for investors to capitalise on the current housing shortage.

Diversified economy

In recent years, Queensland has been known for its resources boom, but as the saying goes, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket.

The state has a diversified economy and remains the jewel in Australia’s tourism crown. International visitors are ensuring the state’s tourism industry remains buoyant with Tourism Research Australia figures showing that foreign tourists injected a record-breaking $4.6 billion into the Queensland economy in the year to June 2015. International visitors arriving in Queensland were up 7.7 percent on the previous year.

And there’s no sign of it slowing with the lower AUS dollar encouraging overseas holidaymakers.

Starwood’s W Hotel, which is one of the world’s most prestigious hotel chains with hotels in Paris, New York, Beijing, will be building its first Australian hotel in Brisbane in 2018 in preparation for Gold Coast’s Commonwealth Games and the opening of Queen’s Wharf. These tourism related projects act as a catalyst and stimulate the entire state economy – especially within the property and business sectors.

HIA senior economist Shane Garrett said residential building was making a crucial contribution to economic growth at a time when other areas of investment were weak.

According to Master Builders Queensland Executive Director Grant Galvin, the building industry had recorded its best figures since the global financial crisis.

“It’s driven by low interest rates and no change in unemployment,” he said.

“As mining has come off, housing and construction have picked up. We’re buoyed by the residential sector driving the economy at the moment.”

Approvals boom

Local councils are coming to the party and giving the greenlight to building developments like never before.

According to the Courier Mail, there has been a 22 per cent increase in the number of residential house approved by councils compared to the previous year, taking it up to 30,000 approvals in 2014. This is good news for investors, as developers are being given the greenlight to start new projects.

Urban Development Institute of Australia Queensland boss Brett Gillan said the approvals boom had been a growing trend for the past 12 months. While Sydney and Melbourne prices continue to soar, the development boom is expected to continue in Brisbane and in doing so, stimulate the local economy.

Rental yield

Investors can feel confident that their properties will deliver a return in Brisbane.  CoreLogic data reported last year that Brisbane delivered the highest rental yields of any of the five mainland capitals with houses returning 4.4 per cent and apartments sitting at 5.4 per cent at the end of August.

Investing in Brisbane

The Hopkins Group has long identified Brisbane as an untapped market for property investors. Our portfolio offers a number of recommended properties in the sunshine state and we see the potential in this major metropolis for investors who want to think outside the square.

Click here for a recent webinar on why we’re investing in Brisbane and click here to view our latest recommended properties including projects in Fortitude Valley, Lutwyche and Cannon Hill.

The Queensland housing boom is here for the long term. Now is the time to get in early before this major metropolis becomes another Sydney or Melbourne. You don’t want to miss the boat.



  • Building on Housing Boom, Matthew Killoran, Jeremy Perce and Jacinda Tutty, Thursday 3 September 2015, Courier Mail
  • Investors drive up Brisbane prices, Michael Bleby, Thursday 3 September 2015, The Australian Financial Review
  • Metro Property Development – News, Jimmy Huynh, Thursday 3 September 2015
  • Construction boom to flow into 2016, Courier Mail, Tuesday 1 December 2015

Monica Jiang is a Property and Contracts Coordinator with The Hopkins Group (John Hopkins Property Pty Ltd). This blog post contains general advice only, which has been prepared without taking into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. You should, therefore, consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your own objectives, financial situation or needs.

Sharing is caring | 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

Once the dust settles from Christmas and we settle back in to work, study and the daily grind, our thoughts inevitably go to what lies ahead.

For some, the coming twelve months promise to deliver significant events and milestones to look forward to, but for others, the new year provides an opportunity to focus on smaller achievements and starting the year on the right foot.

Whether they are finance, fitness, travel, career or relationship focused, goals are best realised when said out loud. By sharing your goals or New Year’s resolutions with others, you have a much better chance of achieving them. Friends, family and colleagues can hold you accountable and check on your progress to keep you on track. Pride can kick in and you’ll want to achieve so as not to have egg on your face at the end of the year when it comes time to review!

It’s also important to set SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. When you follow this framework, you’ll find it easier to tackle your goals and keep an eye on your progress. And make sure you have a good balance between long term and short term goals, you need to be able to see progress and tick things off your list to keep you motivated for the bigger goals. It also helps to vary the themes – don’t only focus on your finances. Challenge yourself socially and physically and this will keep you interested and engaged. There’s nothing like conquering a soufflé to feel accomplished and clever!

We asked around The Hopkins Group office to find out what our team members are focusing on in 2016, and also if they had any tips to share – both professionally and personally – to help others on their journey this year.

Samandah Matty, Property Manager

  • To actually use my gym membership more than once a week!
  • Spend more time at home with my family.
  • To travel to Europe! (But I need to have leave approved first . . . Lorena!?)
  • To stop eating all the biscuits in the kitchen at work!

Abigail Lee, Graduate Accountant

  • Donate more to charity – I have always donated to charity and have volunteered for the leukaemia foundation, this year I want to do a little more for those that need it.
  • As I am marrying a Dutch man I will be taking on lessons this year to learn how to speak Dutch.
  • I want to finish what I start – I always get excited about new projects but tend to never finish… So this year I plan to finish everything I currently have started before taking on anything new.
  • Be more organised – I feel I am normally an organised person, but with family coming from overseas, a wedding and a trip to Europe to plan, I think I need to up my game.

Charmaine Offer, Office Assistant and Personal Assistant

  • I’m doing no chocolate for a month which includes my love, Nutella. I have a massive tub with my name on it on my bedside table waiting to be used!
  • The Herbalife one month challenge – clean eating for the month!
  • The 52 Week Saving Challenge where you put away that week’s number in cash i.e. if it was Week 23, that week I must put away $23. By the end of the year I hope to have saved $1378.

Pip Middleton, HR Coordinator

My goals for this year are pretty, um, not sure the word… I don’t think they are deep, but they’re things I know I’ve struggled with and now that I’m having a baby, I think that I would like to work towards achieving them in order to (hopefully) influence my own little girl!

  • Patience: I sometimes struggle when things aren’t done my way and on my time frames. Be better at accepting (and even embracing!) a lack of control!
  • Love myself a little more: I’m not good at believing I’m good at much, so I want to try change that and not beat myself up if I make mistakes. This one is not just related to motherhood. I want to be a good mum by doing the right things, but more than that, I want my kid/s and those around me to see that it’s ok to not be good at things or perfect: there’s no harm in that and it’s not a reason to be down on yourself!

Editor’s note: On a less serious note, Pip also provided a list of hilarious New Year’s Resolutions that were too good not to share. 

  • Look to Kanye for inspiration on how to love myself a little more. NB. However, I am fully cognisant that I would make a terrible leader of our country and therefore will not aspire to such ridiculous ideas of grandeur.
  • Not call my daughter Saint Middleton. See above ‘Kanye’ for reason (if you need a reason to not call a child Saint).
  • Not leave my daughter in a coffee shop like I regularly do with my mobile and sunnies. Probably should have put this as Priority 1…
  • Not allow Bradley Cooper to fall in love with me: so far so good for 2016, but I think this one will be a struggle.
  • Not get annoyed when my mum asks me (again) what her wifi password is. 1. I don’t know it, and 2. It’s set up to auto connect.
  • Passwords: Branch out and add a second password to my world.

Brian Godfrey, Finance and Mortgage Adviser

  • Visit  Berlin
  • I committed to only buying three ties this year
  • Dine in a different Yarra Valley winery every ten weeks
  • Definitely time to build up my repertoire and expand from my one chicken curry dish

Nicholas Siemensma, Paraplanner

  • Only buy something with a note. All the coins you get as change, put into a money box. I find it works well because a) it’s a good way to save all that annoying change; and b) having to break a note to buy something small like a chocolate bar or something will make you less likely to do it!

Durham Kenigsvalds, Group Financial Controller

  • Clearing the clutter! I’ve started with my desk at work and plan to keep it tidy for the rest of the year

We’ll check in with our staff throughout the year to see if they’re on track to realising their goals for 2016, but in the meantime, we encourage you to put pen to paper and actually set out some plans for yourself this year.

While we can’t snatch a Tim Tam from your grasp or take out a restraining order on Bradley Cooper (sorry Pip!), we can help you with your financial planning and investment goals. Call 1300 726 082 to book in with one of our Financial Advisers who can help map out your financial future for 2016 and beyond.

Strike while the iron is hot! It’ll be Easter before we know it . . .

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The Hopkins Group

Street Address

Level 23, 500 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Postal Address

GPO Box 4347, Melbourne, VIC 3001

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