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Maximising Your Tax Deductions as a Bus Driver: A How-to Guide

Tax time can be challenging, especially for bus drivers with various work-related expenses. Understanding what you can and cannot claim is essential for maximising your tax refund. This guide outlines the key deductions available to bus drivers, ensuring you don’t miss out on any potential tax benefits.


General Principles for Claiming Deductions


To claim a deduction for work-related expenses:


  1. Self-Incurred Costs: You must have spent the money yourself and not been reimbursed.

  2. Direct Relationship: The expense must directly relate to earning your income.

  3. Record Keeping: You must keep records to prove your expenses.


Only the work-related portion of an expense can be claimed. Personal expenses or portions of expenses unrelated to your job cannot be deducted.


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Car Expenses


Non-Deductible: Regular commutes between home and work, even if you live a long way from your usual workplace, work split shifts, or have to work outside normal business hours, are not deductible.

Deductible:

  • Trips between separate jobs in one day.

  • Travel between different workplaces for the same employer on the same day.


You can also claim parking fees and tolls when you drive your car for work-related purposes.


Travel Expenses


Deductible: Travel expenses incurred while travelling away from home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties. For example, driving a two-day bus tour group from Newcastle to Canberra where you are required to sleep away from your home overnight. Travel expenses can include meals, accommodation, fares, and incidental expenses you incur when travelling for work.

Non-Deductible: Travel expenses paid for or reimbursed by your employer. Receiving a travel allowance from your employer does not automatically entitle you to a deduction. You must still show that you were away overnight, spent the money, and the travel directly relates to earning your employment income.


Clothing and Laundry Expenses


Non-Deductible: Conventional clothing (e.g., black pants and collared shirts), even if required by your employer.

Deductible:

  • Protective clothing that has protective features or functions to protect you from specific risks of injury or illness at work, such as steel-capped boots or hi-vis vests.

  • Compulsory uniforms explicitly required by a workplace agreement or policy that is strictly enforced and distinctive to your organisation.

  • Non-compulsory uniforms registered with AusIndustry.


Expenses must not be reimbursed by your employer to claim a deduction.


Driver’s Licence


Non-Deductible: The cost of getting or renewing your driver’s licence, even if it is a condition of your employment. This is a private expense.

Deductible: The additional costs to renew a special licence or condition on your licence necessary to perform your employment duties, such as a heavy vehicle permit.


Compulsory Assessments


Deductible: Compulsory assessments and medical examinations you require to carry out your current employment duties, such as working with children checks.

Non-Deductible: Compulsory pre-employment assessments and medical examinations you take to get employment as a bus driver.


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Other Expenses


Deductible:

  • Work-related portion of expenses such as sunglasses and sunscreen where prolonged periods of sun exposure are likely while you’re performing your employment duties, personal protective equipment you buy, such as gloves, face masks, sanitiser, or anti-bacterial spray if your job requires close proximity with customers, overtime meals that you buy and eat when you work overtime if your employer paid you an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award, or agreement for the overtime and it’s included in your assessable income, cleaning products for the bus if you are required to keep the bus clean and the products are not supplied by your employer, such as anti-bacterial products and window cleaner, diaries and logbooks to record student behaviour or damage to vehicles, phone and internet costs with records showing your work-related use, and union and professional association fees.

Non-Deductible: Private expenses such as music subscriptions, childcare, seat covers, flu shots and other vaccinations, even if you’re required to have them for work.

Expenses must not be reimbursed by your employer to claim a deduction.


Keeping Track of Your Deductions


Using a tool like TaxFox can simplify keeping track of your expenses and receipts throughout the year. This ensures you claim every possible deduction and are prepared in case of an audit.


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By understanding and leveraging the specific deductions available to bus drivers, you can significantly enhance your tax refund. Ensure you keep accurate records and only claim the work-related portion of your expenses. Always Consult the ATO website for compliance. For more detailed information, visit ATO Bus Driver Deductions.


Boost Your Tax Refund with TaxFox


For a more streamlined tax experience, consider using TaxFox, an innovative tax app designed to help Australian taxpayers boost their refunds effortlessly. With features like a digital logbook, receipt storage, and real-time tax refund tracking, TaxFox ensures you never miss a deduction. Download the app today on Android or iOS and take control of your tax returns.

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