This article on tax deductions is dedicated to our underappreciated and underpaid teaching community. Here you will find most claimable tax items for teachers.
The unions might be fighting to help get all you teachers fair pay, but I’m here to educate you on ‘tax deductions for teachers ‘, to get some more money back in your pocket.
As teachers, you spend a huge chunk of your year dealing with moody, entitled dweebs and their finger-pointing, whinging parents who are in denial about their precious little brats’ lack of intellect and work ethic (which we all know starts at home).
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit harsh, but we can agree there’s at least a Shrek-sized handful of these punks in every grade. At least there’s a few good-eggs in there to balance things out and make it all worthwhile.
So, while a glass (or three) of red at the end of each school day does its bit to ease the pain, an extra wad of cash at the end of each year would be nice too, wouldn’t it?
Here’s how tax deductions can help with that.
Put the marking down, leave reporting for another day, grab that bottle of red and indulge in the top tax deductions for teachers so you can get rich(er).
Tax Deductions for Teachers and Teacher’s Aides
1. Teaching Supplies
Let’s start with the obvious. Any teaching supply you buy can be claimed as a tax deduction, provided you weren’t reimbursed by your school. Teaching supplies might include stationery, tools, musical instruments, prizes for students, briefcase, work-bag, teacher aids (not teacher aides!), pack n roll, computer programs, art supplies, diaries, stopwatches for PE teachers, etc.
2. Work-Related Travel Expenses
So, there’s only certain types of travel that can be claimed as a tax deduction. Generally, you are unable to claim travel from home to school and back again; however you can claim travel as a tax deduction if you:
- travelled from school to another place of business if you needed to pick up supplies and then return them back to school;
- travelled to a meeting or professional development at a venue away from school before going home (or even returning to school afterwards)
- travelled between jobs from one school to another;
- needed to transport students to a carnival, sporting event, eisteddfod, etc.
- had to take bulky equipment home from school because there was nowhere else practical and secure to store it.
Travel expenses include parking, tolls, taxis, public transport and general work related car costs, which can be found and calculated here.
3. School Excursions
Costs incurred as a result of going on a school excursion, camp or retreat (where you had to put your hand in your pocket and were not reimbursed) can generally be claimed as a tax deduction. For instance, this may include accommodation, air fares, bus fares, train fares, meals, first-aid or protective supplies, costs incurred in caring for children, travel supplies, or other incidental costs.
4. Fees, Subscriptions & Memberships
There are dozens or fees, subscriptions and memberships that you, as a teacher or teacher-aide, may incur as a result of your teaching profession that can be claimed as a tax deduction. Here’s just a few.
- Union fees
- Teacher’s registration
- Professional memberships
- Subscriptions to magazines, journals, etc. related to your teaching area
- School parking permits
Certain types of clothing can be claimed as a tax deduction by teachers and teacher-aides, including protective clothing such as hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, aprons, boots, lab wear and most general protective wear. Also, the cost of work clothes can be claimed as a tax deduction if it includes a logo, as well as cleaning and laundering of work clothes and protective gear.
6. Self Education
All costs incurred for self-education can be claimed as a tax deduction including university, TAFE or college fees (provided you are an employed teacher at the time of undertaking the education), conferences, professional development, training, seminars, workshops, etc.
You are unable to claim a tax deduction if you were reimbursed for the costs.
7. First Aid
The cost of partaking in first-aid courses is generally a tax deductible expense if you are a designated first-aid provider at your school.
8. Home Office Expenses
We all know teachers do just as much work at home as they do at school. The upside of this is that it can create tax deductions. You can claim on internet bills, phone calls, home heating/cooling and lighting. You can also claim depreciation on home office equipment such as furniture, chairs, computers, etc. Depreciation is a partial deduction that reflects the decline on value of your office equipment.
If your equipment costs less than $300 (per item) you can claim a tax deduction for the full amount in one year, in which case depreciation is not applicable.
Remember, you can only claim a tax deduction on the home office expenses that relates to work use, not personal use.
9. Books / Technical Publications
Any books or technical publications purchased that are related to your teaching area can be claimed as a tax deduction.
10. Social Events
The cost of attending any school social events such as formals, graduations or other social functions, required as part of your teaching duties, can be claimed as a tax deduction.
11. Income Protection Insurance
Many teachers will hold income protection insurance within their superannuation account. Insurance within super is unable to be claimed as a personal tax deduction. However, if you own income protection insurance in your personal name, the premiums will generally be a tax deductible expense.
12. Insurance of Equipment
If you have insurance on your work-related equipment you should be able to claim a tax deduction for the portion that relates to work use of that piece of equipment.
13. Pay TV
If you have Pay TV and part of your subscription to the Pay TV provider relates to work, due to the programs you watch being used in your teaching; then you may be able to claim a tax deduction for the work-related portion of your subscription.
How many times do you get roped into giving to charities or sponsoring a student who is raising money for a good cause? All of these donations to registered charities can be claimed as a tax deduction, provided nothing was received in return.
15. Tax Agent Fees
All fees paid to your nerdy accountant for preparing and lodging your tax return each year can be claimed as a tax deduction. On top of that, you can claim the cost of travelling to visit your accountant. Bonus.
16. Superannuation Contributions
Your school will make contributions into your superannuation account on your behalf as mandatory employer contributions and you may even be making additional after-tax contributions to receive increased employer contributions. Neither of the aforementioned contributions can be claimed as a personal tax deduction. However, if you make pre-tax salary sacrifice contributions into your superannuation account, you are effectively claiming a tax deduction for those contributions, because you are sacrificing part of your wage in exchange for increased super contributions and will therefore have a lower personal taxable income.
We all know you love and deserve a drink at the end of the day. It’s integral to the success and longevity of your career; but, no, unfortunately you can’t claim alcohol as a tax deduction!
What Can Teachers Claim Without Receipts?
What can teachers claim as a tax deduction without receipts? Well, everybody knows that keeping the old shoe-box full of receipts is the best way to get the best tax return. But there are a few large ticket items that can be claimed by teachers and teacher-aides without producing a receipt.
The first one is car receipts. You don’t need to save every fuel receipt and repairs invoice. Simply use this work related car expense calculator to figure out the tax deduction you can claim for car expenses.
Another item that teachers can claim a tax deduction for without receipts is home office expenses. Here’s a calculator to help you do just that – Home Office Expenses Calculator
Laundry expenses for work-related or protective clothing can also be claimed as a tax deduction without a receipt up to an amount of $150.
This article should be used as a guide only as every teacher’s situation is unique. Please consult a tax professional to discuss tax deductions that you are able to claim.
Author: Chris Strano
After playing a vital role in the creation of his two sons, Chris Strano gave up his former-life as a financial adviser to dedicate his time to providing everyday families with basic money management advice. Drawing on his years of education and experience, he has also developed an affordable 100% digital course showing young families how to build their own custom household budget and savings plan to work towards their goals, using financial planning strategies (without the cost of a financial adviser). You too can get started by grabbing his free 6-Step Budget Cheat Sheet at Build A Family Budget and follow him on Facebook and Instagram @SmartFamilyBudget.