Real estate employees – claiming work-related expenses
In most situations, you can claim deductions for work-related expenses as long as your claim meets the following conditions:
- you incurred the expense in doing your job
- the expense is not private (personal)
- you can show you incurred the expense by producing receipts or other written evidence.
Note: If you are claiming a deduction for an expense you incurred for something you used partly for work and partly for personal purposes (such as mobile phone costs), you can only claim that portion of the expense that relates to your business use.
Evidence to support your claims
If your total claims add up to more than $300 (excluding claims for car, meal allowance, award transport payment allowance and travel allowance expenses), you must keep written evidence, such as receipts. Your written evidence must show you have incurred the full amount of your claim, not just the amount over the first $300.
If the total amount you are claiming is $300 or less, you do not need to keep receipts, but you must be able to show how you worked out your claims.
You need to keep your written evidence of work-related expenses for five years from the due date for lodging your tax return. If you lodge your return after the due date, the five years start from this later date.
For depreciating assets, you must keep records for a further five years from the date of your last claim for decline in value.
Your evidence of expenses incurred can be in written or electronic format. We recommend that:
- when you store your written documentary evidence, you photocopy the original. Receipts for items such as fuel and oil can fade particularly when exposed to heat and sunlight
- when you store your records electronically, you make a back-up copy in case the original becomes inaccessible or unreadable - for example, where a hard drive is corrupted
Marco claims his car expenses through the logbook method, and does not need to keep the receipts for fuel and oil but he does need to keep receipts for repairs and maintenance.
He photocopies the thermal paper receipts to protect the information. The photocopies contain the required information and are a true and clear reproduction of the original. This copy would be sufficient evidence to support his claims.
End of example
Note: When you complete the declaration on your income tax return, you are declaring that:
- everything you have told us is true
- you can support your claims with written evidence.
You are responsible for providing proof of your expenses, even if you use a registered tax agent to prepare your return.