Tax tips for teachers 2022 – what you can and can’t claim for

What tax claim options are there for teachers who have worked from home during this financial year, and how can they calculate these expenses when preparing their tax return?

Five million Australians are now working from home. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has lots of resources to help navigate the new norm as we enter tax time.

While the new dressing gown you wear when you work from home is not tax deductable, running expenses like electricity, internet, phone and, declining value of office equipment (such as a private laptop used for work) may be claimed.

Just be sure you keep track of all hours you work at home, keep receipts including those for depreciating items and, record work-related use versus personal use of items – such as using your laptop during the day for work purposes, but also using it at night to watch Netflix.

There are three ways to calculate work from home expenses:

  • temporary shortcut method (80 cents per hour worked from home)
  • 52 cents per work hour fixed rate method
  • actual cost method.

If using the temporary shortcut or fixed rate methods, it is important you don’t ‘double dip’ your claims and are familiar with what expenses are already covered in each method. Visit for more information.

With many Australian teachers back in the classroom this year, what are some of the tax claim options available for educators who have returned to face-to-face learning? What about sanitiser, face masks and rapid antigen tests?

You can claim a deduction for protective items that protect you from the real and likely risk of illness or injury while performing your work duties, provided you:

  • paid for the items yourself
  • weren’t reimbursed
  • have a record of your expense.

You may be able to claim a deduction for face masks if:

  • your duties require you and other employees to be at your place of work
  • your employer did not provide you with a face mask, and
  • you need to wear a mask (this is likely to be the case where your duties as a teacher bring you into close contact with students or colleagues).

A deduction for sanitiser is only available for people working in areas such as medical and cleaning, so generally not teachers.

COVID-19 tests purchased from 1 July 2021 can be claimed if you:

  • used the test for a work-related purpose, such as to determine if you can attend or remain at work
  • got a qualifying test, such as
    • polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test through a private clinic, or
    • other tests included by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods – including a rapid antigen test (RAT) kit
  • paid for the test yourself (that is, your employer didn’t give you a test or reimburse you for the cost)
  • Keep a record of the expense.

If you do not have a record of this expense before the law change on 31 March 2022, reasonable evidence is accepted – such as a bank or credit card statement.

Remember, if a multipack of tests is purchased and used for a combination of work and personal use, you must only claim the portion of the expense you used for work purposes. For more information on keeping records for COVID-19 tests and the law change, visit

What are some of the expenses teachers are eligible to claim, that are often missed?

The ATO teacher and education professionals occupation guide explains the elements that you can and can’t claim as a teacher. Expenses incurred for work such as when travelling for a school excursion or camp, undertaking a first aid course, or renewing union fees, are a few things that could be claimed and might get missed.

You’re not eligible for travel expenses when travelling to and from home and work. However, you could claim travelling to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer – such as if you drive from your main school to another to supervise an exam.

For what you can and can’t claim this tax time, head to

What are some of the common mistakes made by teachers when lodging their tax returns?

There are three golden rules when it comes to lodging your return. The ATO’s Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh says, ‘It’s important you rethink your claims and ensure you satisfy the three golden rules’:

  1. You must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed.
  2. The expenses must directly relate to earning your income.
  3. You must have a record to prove it – no record means no deduction.

You can’t claim gifts purchased for students. For example, if you buy easter eggs or candy canes for your class at Easter and Christmas these expenses are not tax deductable.

You can’t claim expenses if you buy lunch for a student or purchase their schoolbooks. You also cannot claim the costs associated with vaccinations even if you are legally required to obtain a vaccine for work.

This tax time, the ATO is particularly aware of common mistakes related to:

  • pre-fill – they recommend waiting until late July to lodge
  • record keeping – tracking expenses throughout the year will guarantee you a smoother tax time and ensures you claim the deductions you are entitled to
  • double dipping – be sure you aren’t claiming the same expense twice, particularly for work from home expenses that are already included in the shortcut or fixed rate method calculations
  • apportionment – you can only claim the portion of expenses that have a direct connection to your work. For example, when working from home you cannot claim 100 per cent of your internet usage costs as a work expense if you also stream your favourite Netflix show after work hours.
  • reimbursement – if you were reimbursed by your employer, you cannot claim the expense.

Have a look at the ATO’s teacher occupation guide for more information.

For teachers who undertake professional learning or take additional courses or qualifications, can they claim the cost of this self-education on their tax?

The short answer is, yes! If the course directly relates to your job as a teacher, if it maintains or improves your skills and knowledge or, is likely to increase the income you receive in your current employment. An example of this would be upgrading from a Bachelor of Education qualification to a Master of Education.

However, if the course is intended to help you get a new job or is unrelated to your role, it is unable to be claimed. Each claim is dependent on individual circumstance, so if you are unsure you can find out more at

What is the best tip to make it easier for teachers to keep track of their expenses over the next financial year?

Using myDeductions in the ATO app is an easy and convenient way to keep your records in one place. You can record:

  • expenses and deductions
  • vehicle trips
  • income (if you're a sole trader)
  • photos of your invoices and receipts.

The app allows you to record expenses, check and review your pre-fill information, track the progress of your return, and view super contributions. It’s a fast and easy way to capture your receipts on the go. Snap a photo of the receipt in the app when you make your purchase, and then at tax time, upload this information directly into your tax return or email a copy to your registered tax agent. There is also a logbook feature for your work-related car expenses.

Go to, or download on Google Play or App Store.