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16 June 2013

Tax Advice for Teachers


Some common examples of deductible items include:

  • Stickers, stationery and craft materials

  • Student Prizes

  • Reference books, journals, magazine and newspapers (note the content of magazines and newspapers should be specific to the school work subject matter, and not general in nature)

  • Costs associated with a classroom pet

  • Union and professional association membership renewal fees (but not the joining fee)

  • A stopwatch and batteries for the stopwatch (But it can’t be a normal watch with a stopwatch function on it)

  • Computers and laptops (which may need to be depreciated depending on their initial cost)

  • Compulsory Uniforms (which must be specified in the school policy and have a visible logo)

  • Laundry of compulsory uniforms

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat for school sporting coaches


Other expenses to consider are:



If you do your marking at home (and not because it is more convenient but because there is no office space at your work for you to do the marking), then you can claim electricity. The room in which you do your marking should be separate from the rest of the household living areas. You should keep a diary for one month of the time spent doing your marking, lesson planning etc and we can use this diary to average your yearly electricity use.



If you use your phone for work-related purposes, you should either add up the cost of all your work- related phone calls from your itemised telephone bill, or keep a diary for one month of your work-related phone calls versus your private phone calls so we can average your yearly telephone expenses.



If you use the internet for lesson planning etc, you should keep a diary for one month so we can average your yearly internet expenses.


Work Related Travel

Generally, if you use your car to travel from home to work and back again, these travel expenses are NOT tax deductible. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • If you need to carry ‘bulky’ equipment to school, then that trip is allowable. ‘Bulky’ equipment may be sports equipment, music instruments, storybooks and drama props and costumes. However, if you have a safe and secure place where you can store this equipment at school, then it is no longer deductible. Carrying papers home to be marked is generally not considered to be ‘bulky’. Many relief teachers do not have a safe and secure place to store their papers and equipment, and so in this case, they are usually able to claim these travel expenses.

  • If you need to pick up students to attend a sports match on a weekend and drop them home again, this trip is deductible.

  • If you are a teacher who generally visits more than one school in a day, then the nature of your work is considered to be ‘itinerant’ and therefore you are able to claim all your travel from home to each of the schools and back home again.

  • If you travel to your normal workplace first, and then need to drive to a school meeting at another location, or inspect the availability and condition of a sports ground at another location, then you can claim the travel between your normal workplace to the meeting or sports ground, and also the trip back home again. Dropping mail off on your way home is considered to be insignificant by the ATO and therefore they will only allow the distance off the track that this takes you.


Common NON-DEDUCTIBLE items include:

  • relocation costs if you are transferred to a different school

  • sports shoes, tracksuits, swimming costumes etc (unless they have a school logo)

  • costs associated with attending school formals, teachers’ dinners or other social occasions


 To gain the most out of your tax return, and to clarify all your available deductions, please contact us for an appointment.

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