With tax time upon us, you might be interested in the following deduction tips, which may help increase the amount of money you get back.

Lots of things can affect your tax refund, including sources of income from work, investments and government assistance, including any JobSeeker payments you may have received during the financial year.

Other factors that can play a part, include whether you have work-related expenses, such as from travel, equipment, clothing or what you might’ve forked out if you’ve been working from home.

Here’s a quick rundown of things you could consider when preparing and lodging your tax return and hopefully maximising your refund for the 2023-24 financial year which ended on 30 June 2024. 


Who needs to prepare and lodge a tax return?

There will be some people, who won’t need to lodge a tax return. This usually includes those with lower levels of income and some older Australians.

Those who will have to lodge a tax return will typically have received income above certain thresholds, or certain types of income.

If you’re not sure if you have to lodge a tax return, the ATO’s online questionnaire can help you figure it out.

What documents do you need to lodge your tax return?

Some of the things you may need when lodging your tax return might include, but won’t necessarily be limited to:

  • Your tax file number
  • Your bank account details, so the ATO knows where to deposit any refund you may be eligible for
  • Any payment summaries or income statements from your employers
  • Payment info from Centrelink (Services Australia) relating to assistance and relief packages
  • Details regarding any other sources of income (from business, property, investments or shares)
  • Receipts or statements for the expenses you’re claiming as deductions
  • Any private health insurance information you may have
  • Receipts from charitable donations if you’ve made any.

Note, if you lodge your tax return yourself using myTax, which is available through the myGov website and ATO app, most information from your employers, banks, government agencies, health funds and other third parties will generally be pre-filled for you by late July.

What tax deductions could you claim when you lodge your tax return?

Most tax deductions will be work related. However, a work-related expense will only be deductible if you weren’t reimbursed by your employer, it directly relates to you earning an income, and you have a record, such as a receipt (unless the amount you’re claiming is $300 or less, in some instances).

Work-related tax deductions may include:

  • Vehicle and travel expenses
  • Uniforms, as well as occupation-specific and protective work clothing, including footwear
  • Working-from-home expenses, including electricity, phone and internet costs. Note, there are 2 ways to calculate a work from home deduction, the fixed rate method and the actual cost method. For more information on these methods, see the ATO’s guide to claiming working from home expenses.
  • Education costs relevant to your job, such as course fees, textbooks, memberships and subscriptions
  • Tools and equipment, such as sunscreen and sunglasses if you work outside, or laptop and relevant software if you work in an office or home office.

For more information on deductible items related to your specific industry, see the ATO’s occupation and industry specific deduction guides.

Meanwhile, if your expenses are for both work and personal use, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion, which could for instance be 50% of your phone and internet bundle.

Another example might be if you go on an interstate study trip or conference, but are taking a holiday at the same time, you wouldn’t be able to claim the entire trip as a work-related expense.

Additional deductions you may be able to claim:

  • Certain personal super contributions if you’ve made any
  • Interest, dividend and other investment-related expenses
  • Gifts and donations to deductible gift recipients, such as charities
  • Union fees
  • Last year’s tax return fee, if you engaged a tax agent.

If you’re having trouble keeping track of all your receipts, checkout the myDeductions tool in the ATO app. This allows you to save a record of your deductions throughout the financial year, which you can then upload at lodgement time.

Should you lodge your tax return yourself or use a tax agent?

You can lodge your tax return yourself free of charge via MyTax, accessible through the myGov website and ATO app, or you can complete a paper tax return, or engage a registered tax agent to do it for you, which will incur a fee that’s typically tax deductible.

Lodging your tax return yourself

If your finances are relatively simple, you might consider lodging your own tax return (which you’ll need to do by 31 October). As mentioned above, a lot of information will also be pre-filled for you by late July.

Engaging a registered tax agent

If you do want to use a registered tax agent to prepare and lodge your tax return, it’s important to note you will pay a fee for their service, but it’ll typically be deductible next financial year.

Note, you should make sure your tax agent is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).You can find a registered tax agent or check whether a person is registered, by visiting the TPB website.

If your finances are more complex, using a tax agent may provide you with peace of mind, as it could save you time, highlight deductions you didn’t know about, while making sure all your claims are legitimate.

On top of that, most registered tax agents have a special lodgement program, which means they can often lodge returns for their clients after the usual 31 October deadline, but you’ll need to contact them beforehand.

Where to go if you need a bit of help?

To make sure you have all the relevant information you need ahead of lodging your tax return, check out the ATO’s tax time checklist.

Are you across the tax cuts that came into effect on 1 July 2024?

The Government’s long-awaited ‘stage 3’ tax cuts came into effect on 1 July 2024. While there have been well-publicised changes – lower income earners received a higher cut than originally proposed, while higher income earners received a lower cut – the bottom line is that all personal income taxpayers now pay less tax.


Your tax cuts since 1 July 2024

Taxable income  Tax payable 2023/24  Tax payable 2024/25  Tax cut
$40,000  $4,367  $3,713 $654
$60,000 $11,067 $9,888 $1,179
$80,000 $18,067 $16,388 $1,679
$100,000 $24,967 $22,788 $2,179
$120,000 $31,867 $29,188 $2,679
$140,000 $39,667 $35,938 $3,729
$150,000 $43,567 $39,838 $3,729
$160,000 $47,467 $43,738 $3,729
$180,000 $55,267 $51,538 $3,729
$190,000 $59,967 $55,438 $4,529
$200,000 $64,667 $60,138 $4,529
Source: https://treasury.gov.au/tax-cuts/calculator 

What this could mean for you

Since 1 July 2024 you’re paying a lower rate of tax, which means you’ve got more take home pay. So, you might like to think about your options when it comes to that little extra in your pocket:

  • Check how you’re tracking on your savings goals and see if you can put away a little extra each pay check
  • Use it to help pay down any debts and take the heat off your household budget
  • Consider adding a little extra to your mortgage repayments or depositing savings into your mortgage offset account if you have one
  • Consider making voluntary contributions to your super because a little put aside today, can go a long way for your retirement.

Budget planner calculator

What you need to know

Any advice and information is provided by AWM Services Pty Ltd ABN 15 139 353 496, AFSL No. 366121 (AWM Services) and is general in nature. It hasn’t taken your financial or personal circumstances into account.

Any general tax information provided is intended as a guide only and is based on our general understanding of taxation laws current at the date of publication. It’s not intended to be a substitute for specialised taxation advice or an assessment of your liabilities, obligations or entitlements that arise, or could arise, under taxation law, and we recommend you consult with a registered tax agent / tax professional before deciding to act on the information provided.

It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant product disclosure statement, or terms and conditions, available from AMP at amp.com.au, or by calling 131 267, before deciding what’s right for you.

You can read our Financial Services Guide online for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services provided to you. You can also ask us for a hardcopy. All information on this website is subject to change without notice. AWM Services is part of the AMP group.