Tax Return and Deduction Checklist For Teachers  

Tax Return and Deduction Checklist For Teachers

Being a teacher is rewarding, but let’s face it, tax season isn’t always exciting.

While tax season might not be the most exciting part of the year, claiming eligible deductions can significantly boost your tax refund, putting valuable money back in your pocket.

So we decided to offer a detailed guide that provides you with specific deductions available to Australian teachers, equipping you with the knowledge to handle the process efficiently and maximise your return.

Key Criteria For Claiming Deductions as an Australian Teacher

There are three crucial conditions that you as a teacher, are required to fulfil to claim deductions:

Out-of-Pocket Expense  

  • This means you personally paid for the expense and didn’t receive reimbursement from your school, employer, or another source.

  • Think of it like using your own money, not your school’s credit card.

  • Examples: Buying teaching materials, paying for a professional development course, laundering your school uniform.

Work-related Purpose  

  • This means the expense is directly connected to your job as a teacher.

  • It can’t be for personal use, even if it happens during your work hours.

  • Ask yourself: “Did I need this to do my job better or more efficiently?”

  • Examples: Buying textbooks for your class, attending a conference on new teaching methods, purchasing protective goggles for a science experiment.


  • You need to keep proof that you paid for the expense in case the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) asks.

  • This can be a physical receipt, an email invoice, or a digital photo of the receipt.

  • The record should show:

    ·    Date of purchase

    ·    Amount paid

    ·    Name of the supplier

    ·    What you bought (brief description)

  • Don’t throw away receipts! Keep them organised for tax time.

What Counts as Your Taxable Income for Teachers?

  • Salary and wages from your school(s)

  • Pensions or government allowances you receive

  • Interest earned on savings accounts

  • Rental income (if you own and rent out a property)

Dividends from investments

What Can't Be Claimed?

Following is a comprehensive tax deduction which teachers can claim and maximise deductions:

Work wear and Laundry  

  • Costs of uniforms or clothing with your school logo, including the cost of laundering them.

  • Remember, regular clothes, even if you wear them primarily for work, can’t be claimed unless they have your school logo.

Protective Clothing  

  • Items like aprons, goggles, lab coats, or specific footwear are required for certain subjects.

  • Ensure these items are necessary for your safety or to protect your clothing from damage during teaching activities.

Teaching Tools and Equipment  

  • Up to $300 per item for tools and equipment directly used in your teaching (e.g., sports equipment, manipulative, stopwatches, microscopes).

  • Keep receipts for each purchase and track their usage in your classroom setting.


  • For equipment exceeding $300 (e.g., laptops, projectors), you can claim the cost over its useful life through depreciation.

  • Consult the ATO website or a tax professional to determine the appropriate depreciation rate for your equipment.

Repair and Maintenance  

  • Costs associated with the upkeep of teaching tools and equipment, like fixing a broken microscope or replacing worn-out sports equipment.

  • Ensure the repairs are necessary to maintain the functionality of the equipment for teaching purposes.

Home Office Expenses  

  • If you regularly work from home due to school requirements or workload, you can claim a portion of your rent, utilities, and internet bills based on the dedicated workspace area.

  • Keep records of your work-from-home hours and ensure the space is used solely for work purposes.


  • Costs of courses, workshops, or conferences directly relevant to your teaching and professional development (e.g., special needs training, technology integration workshops).

  • Ensure the content aligns with your current teaching role and responsibilities.

Professional Memberships and Fees  

  • Union fees, registration costs for teaching associations, and subscriptions to educational journals relevant to your subject area.

  • Membership benefits should directly contribute to your professional development and teaching skills.

Work-related Travel  

  • Expenses incurred while travelling for conferences, student events, or professional development outside your usual work location.

  • Keep detailed records of travel dates, destinations, and the purpose of each trip about your teaching duties.

Other Teacher-Specific Deductions

Here are some potential deductions which teachers can also claim:

  • Car expenses: If you use your car for work-related travel (e.g., travelling between schools, transporting students), you can claim either a fixed cents-per-kilometre rate or use a logbook to track all car expenses.

  • General work-related travel: Expenses for flights, taxis, trains, or public transport used for work purposes outside your regular commute.

  • Work-related phone and internet bills: Claim a portion of your phone and internet bills based on the percentage used for work-related communication and activities.

  • Donations to registered charities: Consider claiming donations you make to registered charities, ensuring they comply with ATO guidelines.

How Teachers Can Maximise Their Tax Return?

Following are some easy tips for teachers through which they can maximise their deductions and boost their taxable savings:

  • Record-keeping is key: Maintain detailed records of all expenses with receipts or invoices, both physical and digital.

  • Utilise ATO resources: The Australian Taxation Office website offers comprehensive information and guides on claiming deductions.

  • Consider professional advice: For complex situations or specialised guidance, consulting a registered tax professional can be beneficial.

  • File electronically: Choose electronic filing for faster processing and easier access to your tax return status.


We hope that this guide provides enough information to maximise your tax deductions. But to help you further, it’s best to refer to the ATO website or a registered tax expert for specific guidance based on your unique circumstances and income tax bracket.

Speaking of tax experts, KPG Taxation in Australia offers reliable taxation services for teachers through which they can concentrate on their jobs and leave the taxation matters to them.

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