These are taxing times.
Those of you on a moderate income, around $65,000, are about to find a hole in your pay-packet big enough to park a sports car.
Your group certificate will reveal your tax is the size of a nice little Alfa this year.
Barn cats, pub cockies and sex toys are legitimate deductions, if you can prove they are for work only
Taxing the unemployed would be a bit pointless, however appealing to a cackling Commission of Audit. Pensioners, who aren’t helping anyone by refusing to die, are similarly difficult to bleed.
Someone, then, has to ensure there is enough in the Government coffers to pay for society’s necessities; health, education, petrol for Gina Reinhart’s big trucks, those orange boats we keep giving to Indonesia. It is up to the shrinking majority of Australians with a job.
A proper tax system would at least let you visit your allocated welfare recipients and watch their eyes light up when you give them the Alfa, but that wouldn’t work. The Government sneak the tax off you, not in one go but nibble by nibble. Following the Government model, you would be around one week with the muffler, back the next with the wipers and so forth.
Fortunately, tax return time is the chance to, if not get the Alfa back, then to run a key down the duco.
Barn cats, pub cockies and sex toys are legitimate deductions, if you can prove they are for work only.
“Various quirky deductions may be available to particular occupations or trades,” the Australian Tax Office dares workers.
Guard dogs can be claimed. Work animals, like the sharks in the Commission of Audit moat, are deductible unless they are primarily kept, like those ones, as a personal amusement.
Lawyers’ fees are ok, if it is work related. The election expenses that so regularly lead to lawyers’ fees are deductible too.
Somewhat confusingly, divorce lawyer fees are not considered self-improvement, but mime lessons are.
“A building construction labourer claimed for the cost of hand cream as a work-related expense. The cost of sun-screen was deductible, however his claim for hand cream was deemed to be a private expense and disallowed,” the ATO says.
They give useful examples: “Andre, a dancer, is supplied with dancing tights by his employer and also voluntarily buys another pair. The cost of the tights and the laundry costs of both pairs are allowable deductions.”
Paul Drum, policy chief at Certified Practicing Accountants, says that police can claim payments to informants and a Governor’s wife recouped the cost of hats, gloves and formal wear.
Coins in the Red Cross tin are deductible, but the street value of your Blood Bank donations is not, and eBay won’t sell kidneys. The nurses wondering what to do with the kidney now can at least depreciate their fob watches.
There is a no questions asked $9.99 you can claim for unspecified flood and fire donations, so that’s a coffee back.
Hosties can claim moisturiser and conditioner but not vaccinations. They can also write off bigger shoes for when their feet swell up.
Knife swallowers can get back their swords, proving they are not painfully stuck. Soldiers can claim extra ammo. The Tax Office has a policy of not arguing with the armed, or police dogs, or leaving itself open to being stalked by mimes.
It is all a bit of a performance, working out your claims, and therein may lie tax time’s biggest opportunity.
Performance artists and variety performers can claim all kinds of things, and isn’t there a bit of an artist in all of us?
If you take dancing lessons and enrol for auditions in Australia’s Got Talent, probably you can get away with claiming them. If they are tango lessons are for your male escort business, you’d have a crack. Special tights and dancing pumps can be a deduction.
Breast augmentation for exotic performers could be touch and go, though it has happened in the US.
A deduction is allowable for the cost of clown costumes, but not orchestral dinner suits.
The Tax Office says Adult Performers can claim costumes too.
Adult Performers have a ruling that allows a deduction for prophylactics and lotions. Appliances both powered and unpowered are claimable, and tissues. Appliance repairs are a legitimate write off.
The trick seems to be in convincing the ATO you are an aspiring performer.
Your receipted creams and lotions could be for rehearsing your future adult career. Anyone with a camera phone can become a movie producer now.
The inspirational DVDs you see, the weird haircuts, the meals you mangle hoping for a MasterChef call up? Why not?
But, as is no doubt advisable for trapeze performers, there is a catch.
The Tax Office is keeping an eye out for people milking the work related expenses, dairy farmers accepted.
Knife swallowers can get back their swords, proving they are not painfully stuck
If there is a pattern of large or rising claims that don’t fit your norm, they will be on it like a builder on a chapstick.
If you fall foul of the ATO, though, there is one last comfort.
You can claim Australian Tax Office interest on next year’s tax.