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[av_heading heading=’The ATO is airing the ‘dirty laundry’ on work-related clothing and laundry expenses warning that it is closely reviewing claims. ‘ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=” custom_font=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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“Last year around 6 million people claimed work-related clothing and laundry expenses, with total claims adding up to nearly $1.8 billion. While many of these claims will be legitimate, we don’t think that half of all taxpayers would have been required to wear uniforms, protective clothing, or occupation-specific clothing,” Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said.

Clothing claims are up nearly 20% over the last five years and the ATO believes taxpayers are making common mistakes and errors, such as:-

  • claiming ineligible clothing,
  • claiming for something without having spent the money,
  • and not being able to explain the basis for how the claim was calculated.

In some cases, the ATO will ask employers if they require their employees to wear a uniform to check the validity of claims made.

In one case highlighted, a car detailer claimed work related laundry expenses of over $20,000 per year over two years. It seems that the taxpayer worked out how many hours he spent doing his laundry then multiplied that by what he thought was a reasonable hourly rate ($227 per hour because his personal time was valuable). Needless to say, the taxpayer’s claim was reduced to $0.

It’s not just large claims that the ATO is reviewing but claims up to the $150 substantiation threshold. Claims over $150 have to be substantiated with receipts for expenses. Below this level taxpayers are not required to keep normal records. The ATO believes that a lot of taxpayers are simply ticking the box thinking that the claim is a ‘standard deduction’ but it’s not an automatic entitlement.

“Just to be clear, the $150 limit is there to reduce the record-keeping burden, but it is not an automatic entitlement for everyone. While you don’t need written evidence for claims under $150, you must have spent the money, it must have been for uniform, protective or occupation-specific clothing that you were required to wear to earn your income, and you must be able to show us how you calculated your claim,” Ms Anderson said.
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If you’re unsure what you can and can’t claim as laundry expenses – give us a call.

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