As each year goes by, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) increase their audit activity with the intention of ensuring taxpayers satisfy the requirement of claiming a tax deduction by having valid documentation.
If you don’t have a receipt or valid documentation, you risk having your tax deduction disallowed…and of course the ATO may impose a penalty on you for making a “false” claim.
Speaking from experience…most accountants would prefer to not receive a bundle of receipts at the end of the year (remember the old “shoebox”?)…but rather a simple summary of your expenses would suffice.
Having said that, it is your responsibility as a taxpayer to ensure that while you might provide your accountant with a summary, you must still maintain the original records to support your claim (this is the basis of self-assessment under the Australian taxation system).
In the absence of a more sophisticated accounting system, I recommend getting in the habit of summarising your expenses throughout the year, either in an excel spread sheet or even just a note book, and keep the actual receipts in a separate envelope or file (tip: avoid plastic pockets as they can “erase” the thermal print found on many receipts these days)…
In general, if your total work related expenses are less than $300 you do not need to keep receipts, but if your claim is greater than $300…you need to be able to substantiate the whole amount, not just the amount exceeding $300…so when in doubt – keep the receipt!
Does anyone have any special tips record keeping they are willing to share?