COVID tax claims: ATO says workers who purchased rapid antigen tests may be able to claim them on tax return under certain circumstances
Taxpayers who paid for a COVID-19 test for work-related purposes or purchased their own PPE may be able to claim it as a deduction, according to the Australian Tax Office.
As the end of the fiscal year approaches, the ATO expects COVID-19 to continue to impact tax filings.
“We know many have faced significant challenges,” said Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh.
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While taxpayers have enthusiastically embraced working from home during the pandemic, many are now trying to figure out what they can claim as a legitimate work expense on their annual returns.
From July 1, people forced to buy COVID-19 tests to determine if they can attend or stay at work can now claim the cost as a tax deduction.
They must have a record proving they paid for the test, but the ATO will accept a bank or credit card statement along with documentation from employers as proof.
The ATO says employees cannot claim tests provided by employers or when the cost has been reimbursed.
Only tests required for professional purposes are deductible.
“If you bought a COVID-19 test for a trip with your friends, you can’t claim a deduction,” Loh said.
Taxpayers will also be able to claim deductions for the cost of protective items that protect against illness or injury on the job.
“If you are spending your workday near customers and are at risk of contracting COVID-19, you may be able to claim a deduction for protective items such as gloves, face masks or sanitizer.”
The Federal COVID-19 Disaster Payment will not be taxed and does not need to be included in returns.
JobSeeker and Pandemic Leave Disaster payments are taxable and must be included.
Australia reported more than 23,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, along with 30 virus-related deaths.
There are currently more than 244,000 active cases across the country, with around 2,700 patients in hospital.