5 things lawyers can and cannot claim at tax time

Lawyers claim tips for end of financial year

The end of the financial year is rapidly approaching, and so is the time to lodge your tax return for 2018-2019.

You are probably already aware that there are some specific work-related expenses you can claim as a lawyer. But are you sure you are claiming everything you are entitled to in order to - hopefully - receive some cash back?

For example, did you know you can claim the annual cost of Supreme Court library fees? Ahead of the June 30 deadline, we have listed some other things you may not know you can - or can’t - claim for this financial year.

Please note, this article is general advice only based on the ATO deduction guide.

1. Unfortunately, you can’t claim your Chanel bag or Armani Suit

However, you can claim the cost of a briefcase (or large handbag) if it was purchased for work purposes and used to carry items such as your work laptop and work-related paperwork.

Likewise, although general business attire is not claimable, court attire such as robes and wigs are. This is because they are considered to be occupation specific and compulsory to wear in many jurisdictions. In addition to these purchases, you can also claim cleaning, hire, repair and replacement costs for these garments.

2. You can claim your annual practising certificate

You should have recently renewed your practising certificate, or might even have recently been admitted to practice (congratulations!). Although admission fees are not claimable, you can claim a deduction for the cost of renewing your annual practising certificate. Considering the costs of renewal exceed $1,000 in many jurisdictions, this is a cost well worth claiming.

3. You can’t claim your golf membership, even if you only reached the green to network

Under the ATO rules, club membership or sponsorship fees cannot be claimed, even if the main purpose of the membership is business development. Similarly, you cannot claim the cost of entertainment, such as business lunches and attendance at sporting events, gala or social nights. Whether your attendance was made compulsory by your employer or not, these events are considered private and thus not claimable.

4. You can claim your mandatory professional development expenses

If you attended legal CPD seminars, conferences or completed online training in order to meet your continuing professional development requirements, you can claim the associated fees. LawCPD’s interactive online courses fall under the training courses deduction category, which means they can be claimable at tax time.

As with all expenses, you must keep records of all costs claimed in your annual tax returns. If you have completed online courses with LawCPD since last July, you can log in to your account to find all your invoices.

5. You can’t claim your Netflix subscription, but you can claim working-from-home expenses

If you are regularly working from home you may be able to claim a deduction for some related expenses. These may include phone and internet expenses, heating, cooling, lighting and other occupancy expenses. Check the ATO guide for more details.

Get ahead this CPD year!

Man smiling doing online CPD on mobile phone

Purchase a One-Click Compliance CPD Pack now to claim it this financial year! With LawCPD you can learn at your own pace: buy your courses now and then complete them later - anytime, anywhere and from any device.

Learn More