Tax returns and payments


30th April, 2024

Tax Deductions Business Owners Should Know About to Maximise Returns at EOFY

As a business owner, understanding the tax deductions available to you is essential for maximising your returns and minimising your tax liability.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) provides guidelines on eligible deductions that can help offset your business expenses and reduce your taxable income.

This article explores some of the most common tax deductions Australian business owners can claim, thus helping you optimise your tax strategy.

We’ll cover:

  • Firstly, an explanation of what tax deductions are and why they’re vital to know about
  • Common deductions you might be able to claim in your business
  • Tips for claiming common tax deductions legally and efficiently

What are tax deductions?

Essentially, a tax deduction refers to an expense a business incurs during the course of its operations that can be that can be used to offset the amount of tax owed to the government.

Understanding the available deductions and how they work is crucial for business owners to effectively manage their finances and ensure compliance with tax laws.

Why do you need to know about tax deductions?

By leveraging tax deductions, business owners can not only reduce their tax burden but also free up resources to reinvest in their business, stimulate growth, and achieve their financial goals.

However, it’s essential to be aware of both the benefits and risks associated with tax deductions, as improper or excessive claims can attract the attention of the ATO and lead to penalties and/or audits.

Small business owner, EOFY

Common Tax Deductions to Consider

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses incurred in the day-to-day operations of your business are generally deductible.

This includes expenses such as rent for business premises, utilities, insurance premiums, and office supplies.

Keep detailed records of these expenses throughout the year, including invoices and receipts, to support your claims.

Remember that expenses must be directly related to earning assessable income to be deductible, so ensure they’re incurred for business purposes.

Employee Wages and Superannuation

Wages paid to employees, including salaries, wages, bonuses, and commissions, are deductible business expenses.

Additionally, any superannuation contributions made on behalf of your employees are also deductible when these deductions are made on time in accordance with super legislation.

Ensure you meet your superannuation obligations by making timely contributions and keeping accurate records of payments.

This not only allows you to claim deductions but also ensures compliance with employment laws and regulations.

Travel Expenses

Travel expenses incurred for business purposes, including accommodation, meals, and transportation, are generally deductible.

This includes both domestic and overseas travel related to business activities such as meetings, conferences, and site visits, among other things.

Keep records of travel dates, locations, and purposes, as well as receipts for expenses incurred.

Note that travel expenses must be directly related to earning assessable income and not of a private or domestic nature.

Professional Fees and Subscriptions

Fees paid to professionals such as accountants, solicitors, and consultants for services rendered to your business are deductible.

Additionally, subscriptions to professional associations and industry publications relevant to your business are also deductible.

These deductions can help offset the costs of obtaining professional advice and staying informed about developments in your industry.

Advertising and Marketing

Expenditure on advertising and marketing activities aimed at promoting your business and attracting customers is deductible.

This includes expenses related to print and digital advertising, website development, social media marketing, and promotional materials.

Ensure you don’t just keep receipts of costs incurred but also evidence of marketing campaigns on file in case you need to provide them as proof of expenses at any stage.

Depreciation of Assets

The depreciation of business assets, such as equipment, machinery, and vehicles, is deductible over their effective life.

You can claim deductions for the decline in value of these assets each year, based on the applicable depreciation rates and methods.

Keep records of asset purchases, including invoices and depreciation schedules, to substantiate your claims.

Note that different assets may be subject to different depreciation rules, so consult with your accountant or tax advisor for guidance.

Home Office Expenses

If you operate your business from home, you may be eligible to claim deductions for home office expenses, such as utilities, internet, and phone bills, as well as a portion of rent or mortgage interest and property depreciation.

The ATO provides simplified methods for calculating these deductions, such as the Fixed Rate method or the Actual Expenses method.

Keep records of expenses and usage to support your claims, ensuring they’re directly related to your business activities and not personal ones.

Income-Protection Insurance

Protecting your income is paramount, and you can claim a tax deduction for insurance premiums paid to mitigate the loss of income.

It’s important to note that this deduction excludes premiums for life insurance, trauma insurance, or critical-care insurance.

Work-Related Car Expenses

If you use your personal vehicle for work-related purposes other than commuting, you can typically claim fuel and maintenance costs as tax deductions.

Ensure you own the vehicle, and the travel is an integral part of your workday.

Examples include trips between offices, visits to the post office or bank, or travel between job sites.

You need to keep accurate records via a logbook to claim the percentage of business travel.  Consult your tax professional for the best advice on how and what records to keep for what period.

Self-Education Expenses

Investing in self-education relevant to your business role can yield tax deductions.

Eligible expenses include textbooks, stationery, computer expenses, phone calls, courses, workshops, seminars, travel costs for self-education, and more.

Learn about the different areas of self-education expenses, and what can and can’t be claimed, and adjust your deduction accordingly.

Sun Protection

If your work requires prolonged outdoor exposure, sunglasses become a deductible expense.

Remember, if sunglasses exceed $300 in cost, claim depreciation rather than an upfront deduction.

Laundry Expenses

You can deduct the cost of purchasing and cleaning occupation-specific clothing, protective gear, and distinctive uniforms.

Use a reasonable basis, such as $1 per load for work-related clothing, to calculate your deduction.

Management of Tax Affairs

Fees paid to tax agents for preparing and lodging your tax return are deductible.

Simply report the amount paid in section ‘D10 – Cost of Managing Tax Affairs’ on your tax return.

Financial Loss and Bad Debts

Consult your financial advisor to discuss strategies for minimising financial losses and offsetting them against other incomes.

Document any bad debts incurred before the end of the financial year as evidence for potential write-offs.

Union fees

If you pay union fees each year, you’re entitled to a tax deduction under ‘D5-Other’ work-related expenses.


Don’t get caught out on this one. Donations of $2 or more to an appropriate charitable organisation are tax deductible if you have a receipt.

But note that not all deductions are equal. Donations must be made to a Deductible Gift Recipient to be claimable.

Most private donations (e.g., Go Fund Me causes) are not deductible.

Small business owner, EOFY

Tips for Claiming Tax Deductions

Before you go and start claiming tax deductions with glee, keep in mind a few factors.

Remember the core principles of tax deductions

Tax deductions don’t equate to refunds. For those earning above $180,000, the maximum savings stand at 45 cents per dollar.

Conversely, if your earnings fall below $180,000, your tax deduction diminishes substantially.

It’s crucial to recognise that the benefit of tax deductions varies based on your income level.

As such, exercise prudence in expenditure.

If a purchase isn’t essential, it may not be worth making solely for the tax deduction.

Consider whether retaining the full amount in your pocket outweighs any potential tax savings.

Always evaluate the necessity, timing, and tax implications, particularly concerning applicable marginal tax rates, before allocating your hard-earned income.

Adopt effective financial practises

One of the simplest yet most impactful steps you can take is to diligently capture and track all financial transactions related to your small business.

Utilise online accounting software such as MYOB’s products to streamline this process and maintain accurate records.

Seek professional guidance

Additionally, seek guidance from a registered tax agent your professional advisors who can provide tailored advice and insights based on your unique circumstances.

Consulting with a professional ensures you make informed decisions aligned with your financial goals and regulatory obligations.

A registered tax agent can provide personalised guidance and assist you in navigating the complexities of tax deductions and end-of-financial-year considerations.

By learning about common tax deductions like those mentioned above, you can effectively reduce your taxable income and minimise your tax liability.