Bus drivers work hard to keep their buses safe and on the road. They often work long hours, and their pay is usually not as high as other professions. However, bus drivers can take advantage of several tax breaks to help reduce their taxable income.
The first thing we’ll do is look at is how much money you need to make before you have to start paying taxes on your wages. And the second thing we’ll do is talk about what deductions you might be able to claim as a bus driver.
What is the tax-free threshold?
The first $18,200 of your yearly income is tax-free. This means that you will not be taxed on this amount. However, if your assessable income exceeds this threshold, you will need to pay tax on the excess.
The $18,200 tax-free threshold is equivalent to:
- $350 a week
- $700 a fortnight
- $1,517 a month
As a bus driver, if you earn less than this amount, you will not have to pay any income tax.
What deductions can bus drivers claim?
This is a list of the most common deductions that bus drivers can claim:
- Self-education expenses – You may be able to deduct some of your self-education expenses as a working expense. To qualify for a deduction, your self-education needs to be directly related to your current job.
- Any clothing or items that have protective benefits such as steel-capped boots, sunhats and sunglasses – You may be able to claim a deduction for the cost of these items if you can show that you needed them to do your job.
- Any costs associated with washing and repairing your bus, including the cost of fuel, oil and water – These costs are deductible because they are directly related to your current job.
- Any expenses related to buying and insuring equipment or tools that are used for work – For example, the cost of a toolbox or specialised tools that are used to maintain your bus.
- The cost of buying stationery such as notepads, diaries and pens – Because these items are related to your current job, you may be able to claim a deduction for them.
- Any costs associated with repairing and maintaining safety equipment at your place of work – Such as an emergency first aid kit or fire extinguisher.
- If your property was compulsorily acquired, some compensation you received from the government.
- Any compulsory assessments and medical examinations had as part of your job.
- The cost of a first aid training course ifit is related to your current job.
- The cost of travel to and from work, including public transport fares and the costs of parking – You may be able to claim a deduction for the cost of travel to and from work, even if you use your own car.
- Travel expenses such as accommodation, showers, sleeping bags/pillows and meal allowances if you are on an overnight trip away from home.
- Any costs associated with washing and repairing your bus, including the cost of fuel, oil and water.
What can’t I claim?
There are several key expenses that you cannot claim as a bus driver, including:
- The cost of obtaining or renewing your driver’s license – This cost is not deductible, even if it is specific to your current job.
- Any grooming costs, including hairdressing services or the purchase of cosmetics.
- Any costs incurred when travelling between your home and your workplace, even if you live a long distance away
- Any fines for speeding or parking that are incurred during your workday.
- Any regular clothing worn to your workplace such as a suit or dress.
- The purchase of seat covers, air fresheners or any other adornments to your bus
- The cost of purchasing prescription glasses or contact lenses, unless they’re anti-glare glasses worn to reduce the risk of injury to your eyes while working in your job as a bus driver
What records do I need to keep?
Record-keeping might seem like a hassle, but it’s super important at tax time, so you need to stay on top of your receipts and have a comprehensive set receipts if you want to get a good tax refund. It’s a smart idea to create an easy and reliable system to help you keep on top of this throughout the year. Take these receipts and invoices to your tax accountant during tax time so they can help you work out which expenses you can claim.
Remember, you don’t need to keep physical receipts, and it’s acceptable to keep a digital copy (such as a photo of a receipt or an email receipt) provided it is possible to read:
- The name of the supplier
- Amount of the expense
- Nature of the goods or services
- Date the expense was paid
- Date of the document
You also don’t need to keep receipts for expenses under $10 (as long as these don’t cumulatively come to more than $200).
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