There have been quite a few tax changes over the past year which could affect you as an individual taxpayer.
The biggest changes this year benefit Newstart, Youth allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY recipients.
Natural Disaster Donation Receipts
Donations of up to $10 to bucket collections conducted by an approved organisation for natural disasters can be claimed without a receipt. This includes donations for natural disasters such as the floods in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, bushfires in Western Australia, Cyclone Yasi in Queensland, and the earthquakes in Christchurch and north-eastern Japan. If your donation was over $10 you will need a receipt for the whole amount.
If you used the web or phone to make a donation over $2, your web receipt or credit card statement is sufficient. If you donated through third parties, such as banks and retail outlets, the receipt they gave you is also sufficient. If you contributed through ‘workplace-giving’ your payment summary should show the amount you donated.
Tax Exemption for Some Disaster Payments
The Government has introduced legislation to grant tax exemption for certain payments made following recent natural disasters. The following payments will be exempt from tax:
- disaster income recovery subsidy paid for Cyclone Yasi and the flooding events which started on 29 November 2010
- ex-gratia payments from the Commonwealth paid to New Zealand non-protected special-category visa holders following an Australian natural disaster in the 2010-11 income year
- clean-up and recovery grants paid to small business and primary producers (under category C of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements) for:
- flooding which started on 29 November 2010, and
- Cyclone Yasi.
Newstart and Youth Allowance Recipients Actively Seeking Paid Work
A recent High Court decision means you can claim deductions this year for expenses you incurred in actively seeking paid work if you received Newstart allowance or were a Youth allowance job seeker. You must have records to support your claim.
You can claim:
- expenses you incurred in meeting the requirements of your Employment Pathway Plan
- short-term travel costs, such as travel to job interviews
- training courses, including self-employment training and assistance, and text books
- phone calls you made seeking paid work, and
- résumé preparation.
You cannot claim expenses:
that relate to seeking employment in only a general way (for example, conventional clothing)
that are of a private or domestic nature (for example, conventional clothing, grooming and meals), or
paid for by your Job Services Australia provider.
Study Expense deductions for Youth Allowance, AUSTUDY and ABSTUDY recipients
A recent High Court decision means you can also claim a deduction for study expenses this year if you received Youth allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. Study expenses you can claim include text books and the depreciation on your computer. This is the last year you will be able to claim a deduction against an assistance payment.