Table tennis tables, handbags, Netflix, vibrators and even breast implants can all be claimed in a tax return as long as the item can be proved to assist with an assessable income.
We all know we can claim income protection insurance, charitable donations and home office expenses, but the more unique industries can claim a broad variety of items at the end of the financial year.
An Adelaide-based accountant told news.com.au the more unusual refunds included over the years was the depreciation of breast implants by a stripper and flight attendants claiming moisturiser – one claimed more than $3000 worth of the beauty product in one year.
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Over in Sydney, Ben Johnston from Willett Johnston Partners said his broad range of clients have included professional football players who can seek a deduction on gym memberships and various items including mouth guards.
“Sex workers for example can claim vibrators and fetish equipment but you can’t really say to a schoolteacher that you can claim a vibrator, it’s not deductible for them because they’re not in that industry,” he told news.com.au.
“It’s a tool of trade, there’s a nexus there between earning your income and equipment required to be able to earn that income.
“It’s the same as footy players who can claim mouth guards, gym fees and sunglasses and things that a lot of other industries and occupations can’t claim.”
An office worker is unable to claim sunglasses or corporate attire but they can claim handbags, which the Australian Taxation Office has brought in as an exception in recent years.
“A lady can claim a handbag that cost less than $300 immediately if it’s to be used for work related purposes,” Mr Johnston said.
“The other one that attracted headlines a few years ago is workplaces can claim things like ping-pong tables and pool tables and things like that in a business so employees can use it as a health and wellbeing activity.”
Businesses can also claim art work if it is used to fit out workplaces, while professions such as journalists can claim subscriptions to Foxtel or Netflix but this varies depending on the amount the product is used.
For example, a sports writer would need Foxtel’s sports channels and a film critic consumes a wider source of entertainment such as Netflix or Stan.
The same applies to someone who works in the finance sector, who would rely on industry subscriptions in print and broadcast to stay up to date with stock market fluctuations and other news.
But most workplaces would supply these sources, and the ATO is watchful of this.
“It’s quite heavily scrutinised so you’ve got to have diary evidence and it’s only proportionately deductible,” he said, meaning you have to prove the divide between professional and private use of the source.
“It’s got to be relatively supported by your employer as well.
“You’d have to record the number of hours you’re watching Foxtel, for example, and then record the business relevant time you’re watching it. It’s not too dissimilar to claiming the internet.”