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FAQs About Claiming Tax Returns in Australia: Part 1

As an Australian business owner, a clear goal that can never be overlooked is learning how to maximise profit by minimising costs.

Thanks to the advent of modern business techniques, companies today are provided with different ways to improve the way they save on their costs. Over time, the improved ability to achieve reduced expenditure has helped the bottom line of countless businesses across all industries and sizes!

Among the different ways to save and boost profit margins, however, opportunities to claim tax returns have remained as the most optimal approach.

Whether you’re a restaurant that’s bouncing back from the effects of COVID-19 or a fintech startup optimising on profit margins, you will always have various opportunities to claim on costs. From travel expenses for work to home office set-ups, each available opening for a tax claim will always yield a significant return in one way or another.

While claiming tax returns isn’t necessarily a new idea in the Australian business landscape, the problem is that many companies still find themselves with many unanswered questions. Given the nuances that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has outfitted its tax return policies with, it can be quite confusing at first to work through the ins-and-outs of all the stated guidelines. Over time, you may inadvertently find yourself with different concerns and questions that will arise, depending on how much difficulty you’re experiencing.

Typical questions you may have when claiming tax returns

Seeing that you may find yourself with an assortment of questions, it’s clear that having the right answers to any question that you have will undoubtedly help. To ensure that you don’t make any mistakes when coming to terms with the ATOs detailed guidelines and rules, here are the answers to the two most common questions that you could have:

Question #1: “Is it possible to claim the maximum allowable figure without receipts?”

Although it is tempting to claim the maximum allowable limit for every qualifying expense without forking over receipts, the truth is that it is merely impossible because of the set limits by the ATO. Currently, an Australian business can only claim the following expenses without receipts (which are alternatively called “substantiation exceptions”):

  • Up to $300 for “other work-related expenses”

  • Up to 5,000 kilometres worth of expenses (which is calculated through the cents per kilometre method)

  • Up to $150 for laundry expenses

Without the necessary receipts to prove for your exceptions, you miss out on the privilege to claim most of the other available opportunities that you can be entitled to. Although an absence of receipts may be allowed, expenses that are claimed through the method mentioned above will need to be supported with documentary evidence during an ATO audit! Question #2: “Can medical expenses be claimed during a tax return?” Considering the rising cost of medication and health services, many business owners find themselves curious about the possibility of claiming medical care for their tax returns. Unfortunately, the current mandates of the ATO make it impossible to claim for medical expenses during a tax filing period. Although the Net Medical Expenses Tax Offset (NMETO) allowed businesses to make such claims on related expenses, it was only made available from 2015 to 2019. For 2020 and beyond, however, it’s safe to say that there will no longer be any available opportunities for expense claims.


For any Australian business, the opportunity to claim various expenses during tax returns yields a valuable opportunity cost savings and extra options for profit. Through this guide’s help, you won’t have to worry about making any mistakes during the claiming process at any point as you get familiar with the ATO’s guidelines! When it comes to tax and Shopify accounting work, we have the solution for any Australian company that seeks an accountant for their e-commerce business. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your business succeed!

(Stay tuned for our part two as we continue to answer your most common questions about claiming tax returns!)

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