Tax deduction tips for teachers, tax returns in Australia generally vary from occupation to occupation. For anyone who works as a teacher or within the industry of education there are a number of tax deductions that are relevant to your position of employment.

Regardless of whether you are a first year teacher or have been working as a teacher for several years it’s important to make sure you have a good level of knowledge regarding the tax system so that you are aware of what you can and can’t claim at tax time.

Here are a list of the some of the major tax deductions that apply to teachers and other Australians who are working in education.

Tax Deduction Tips For Teachers: Common Teacher-Specific Expenses That Can Be Claimed As Tax Deductions

  • Self-education expenses if your course or conference relates directly to your current job – for example; a course in working with children with special needs. 
  • Running costs associated with your home office if you are required to work from home. This includes the depreciation of office equipment, work-related phone calls and charges associated with internet access, and electricity required for heating, lighting and cooling costs.
  • Equipment which was purchased specifically for your work from home, such as; computers, tablets, laptops, mobile phones and printers. You can claim an automatic deduction for items costing $300 or less and for items costing more than $300, you can claim a deduction for this cost spread over a number of years (depreciation). 
  • Expenses for your car when you: drive between separate jobs on the same day, for example; travelling from your job as a teacher to your second job as a musician. When you drive to and from alternative work places for the same employer on the same day for example; driving from your school to a different school to moderate exam results.

There are limited scenarios when you are able to claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as when you have to carry bulky tools or equipment for work such as a set of sporting equipment needed for a carnival. The cost of these trips will only be deductible if:

  • Your employer requires you to transport the equipment for work 
  • The equipment was essential to earning your income 
  • There was no secure area to store the equipment at the work location, and 
  • The equipment is bulky – at least 20kg, or cumbersome to transport. 

If you claim car expenses, you will be required to have a logbook to determine the work-related percentage and receipts for all expenses if you claim actual costs, or keep a log of business related journeys if you use the 72 cents per kilometre method to claim. 

As long as the expense relates to your employment, you can also claim a deduction for the work-related portion of the cost of: 

  • Phone and internet usage 
  • Excursions, school trips and camps 
  • First aid courses 
  • Seminars and conferences 
  • Protective equipment such as sunglasses, sunhats and 
  • Teaching aids 
  • Technical or professional publications 
  • Union and professional association fees. 

Tax Deduction Tips For Teachers: Common Teacher-Specific Expenses That Can’t Be Claimed As Tax Deductions

  • Self-education if your study is only related in a general way or is designed to help you get a new job, e.g. you can’t claim the cost of study to enable you to move from being a teacher’s aide to being a teacher. 
  • Home office occupancy expenses related to the cost of rates, mortgage interest, rent and insurance. 
  • The cost of car trips between home and work, even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours – for example; parent-teacher interviews. 
  • Gifts that you have purchased for students
  • Meeting student’s personal expenses – such as; paying for lunch, excursions or school books.