As an Individual Tax Payer, Can You Claim Back Business Expenses?

Say, I pay for Dropbox, Slack and some other productivity tools and pay my taxes as an Individual. Is there a way I can claim back the expense for those services since they are an integral part of my day-to-day workflow?


  • Yes, any money you spend to help you make more money is tax deductible. But if you use them for non-work related activities, then you need to proportion by percentage

    • The list would be:
      1. LinkedIn Premium
      2. Dropbox
      3. Slack
      4. RescueTime
      5. Office365 (if not provided by work)

      How do I defend these services, I mean what should I write?

      Please note that I am not even a sloe trader, just an "Individual" tax payer.

      • IMO not likely for LinkedIn Premium. It would be considered as social networking, looking for jobs or networking. Not directly connected with your work, or expense incurred too soon (looking for work or networking).
        If you want free advice, best to call ATO or write in for a private ruling.

      • Make some diary entries describing what work functions each help you with.
        Apportion any private use (e.g, 80% for business). Keep a payment record.
        That is all that is required.

      • I'm a PAYG employee and just write "computer software xx%" because all the software I buy is for both work & personal use. Every year I claim that percentage (nb: it probably should be in the depreciation area but the amounts are so small I'd rather ask for forgiveness rather than faff around too much). I've done a variation of this for 40 years and never been questioned.

        My direct work deductions (mileage, laundry and non-reimbursed site expenses) come to ~$3k. My pro-rata deductions are ~$900 + $600 union fees + $200 donations.

        I claim for 3 sectors of income. Work, shares & bank interest / transaction account so my deduction sheet looks like:

        PPE boots - hiking 30%
        Internet 30%
        Mobile phone handset 20%
        Mobile phone - plan 20%
        Tools - hand 30%
        Tools - power 30%
        Storage - work equipment 50%
        Batteries for multimeter, etc 50%
        light for storage area
        laptop 30%
        computer software 30%
        trade union fees

        • My direct work deductions (mileage, laundry and non-reimbursed site expenses) come to ~$3k. My pro-rata deductions are ~$900 + $600 union fees + $200 donations.

          What is mileage? Laundry for work uniform? By union fees do you mean we can claim back annual professional membership fees?

          • @UncommonName: I have a base office and I often have to either attend one of our off site assets or one of our satellite offices. It's often easier to take my own car rather a company car. If it's simply for my own convenience I don't claim the mileage back from my employer, I just claim it using the cents per km method. If it's because my employer hasn't got enough pool vehicles then I claim off my employer and not on tax (you can't double dip).

            You (generally) can't claim for trips to/from work. There are some exceptions. It's on the ATO site with lots of other helpful information.

            Laundry for PPE (high vis) or uniform with visible company logo.

            Yes you can claim trades union and professional association fees (Engineers Australia, Local Government Professionals, etc)

  • what/How do you use Dropbox for work? and what's the percentage of work uploads vs your personal back up?

    I agree LinkedIn is unlikely related to your work, unless you are specifically using it to do your job. e.g. recruitment In which case, why isn't your employer paying for it?

  • Say I made furniture for my office, and I definitely don't smile when I'm running that 5HP cabinet saw. No siree.

    Can I deduct the cost of my saw?

    Genuine question.

    • Short answer is yes, based on the info you have given.
      If the purchase was completely uneconomic, replacing a $99 ikea table, and there was evidence you used the saw for hobby purposes, and kept it at your house after the work was complete, I think you would have a hard time convincing a tax inspector, and if you appealed, a hard time convincing the commissioner, and then a hard time convincing a judge. And you would be up for $100k of legal costs.
      But if you bought the saw, hand crafted quality cabinetry, spent money on equally high quality carpets and decorations to host your high end clients, that you can show from the list of meetings you held, and you sold the saw when you were done, or at least stored it at your business - then I think there is no question it would be a legitimate work expense.

      A real estate agent doesn’t only get to deduct the cost of the simplest, cheapest car - they can buy a BMW if it is necessary for their income.

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