Need to know
- The end of the financial year sees lots of technology brands and retailers cutting prices
- The sales are a chance to pick up products you can use for work and claim as a deduction on your tax return
- CHOICE can direct you to the best buys for many of the products you’ll need for working from home
With the discounts coming thick and fast in the lead-up to June 30, the end of the financial year sales are a great opportunity to pick up tech items for your home office that you can claim as a deduction on your tax return.
Unfortunately, tax deductions aren't exactly free money and they don't equate to a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement in your tax refund. Instead, they help reduce your taxable income, which is the figure the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) uses to determine how much tax you owe for the year.
For a cost to be deductible, it must meet the ATO's three "golden rules":
- You must have spent your own money on something that directly relates to you earning an income.
- You can't have been reimbursed by someone else.
- You have to have a record of your spending, such as a receipt.
The good news is that if the cost is $300 or less, you can claim the full amount as a single deduction. If you buy something that costs more than $300, like a laptop, you won't be able to claim it all in one go. Instead you'll have to claim a proportion of the cost each year as the item depreciates in value over its lifetime.
If the item you bought is for both personal and work use, you can only deduct the percentage that reflects how much you use that product for work
The ATO has guides on how you can do this by using one of its two recommended formulas, or you can use its depreciation and capital allowances tool, but you'll have to keep track of the product's base value and the effective life of the item.
The tax office sets guidelines for how long various items are meant to last (two years for a laptop, for example) that you can use in your calculations.
It's also important to note that if the item you bought is for both personal and work use, you can only deduct the percentage that reflects how much you use that product for work.
So, if you buy a $199 printer and use it for work for 50% of the time, you can claim $99.50 as a deduction. This rule applies whether you're claiming the deduction all in one year, or over a period of years.
If you spend more than $300 on a tablet that you use only for work, you can claim the depreciation over the following years. If you're also using it for private purposes, you'll have to calculate the split and claim the correct deduction, as per the method above.
Check out our laptop and tablet reviews and see which brands deliver the best reliability, satisfaction and customer service before you buy. If you need extra storage, browse our reviews of portable storage devices.
If you use your phone for work, you can claim a percentage of the cost at tax time in accordance with the method outlined previously.
Our experts can walk you through how to buy the best smartphone for your needs, while our testers have been putting the latest smartphones through their paces – see the results in our smartphone review.
If you're setting up your home office and want all your gadgets to work quickly and reliably, you'll need a fast wireless router for your home Wi-Fi.
Routers usually have a range of around 50 metres in line of sight, but obstructions like walls and furniture can shorten it. If you want to have a stronger signal at the edge of the Wi-Fi range, an extender or mesh network is what you're looking for.
Head to our guide to routers, mesh networks and extenders to understand what could work best in your home and see how the different options compare in our reviews of wireless routers, mesh networks, and NBN modem routers.
Printers often feature in EOFY tech markdowns and whether you run your own business or work from home, having one of these office staples on deck can often come in handy.
While a printer itself can range in price from $60 to more than $1000, buying ink cartridges can end up costing you more than the machine itself
But while it may seem like a simple piece of equipment, buying a printer can be confusing. Should you go for laser or inkjet? Do you need a multifunction printer with a scanner too? Are you being upsold to a more expensive model?
See our printer buying guide for advice on what could work best for you.
And while a printer itself can range in price from $60 to more than $1000, buying ink cartridges can end up costing you more than the machine itself. We've found five surprising items that are cheaper than printer ink, including champagne and a luxury beauty product.
If you work from home, you can also claim any extra costs resulting from spending more time in your house, like an inflated energy bill.
The ATO allows you to claim a flat rate of 67 cents per hour that you worked from home, to cover extra use of things like electricity and gas, but also internet and mobile data.
The ATO allows you to claim a flat rate of 67 cents per hour that you worked from home
Alternatively, you can calculate the actual cost you've incurred (in case it's more than 67 cents per hour), but this will require lots of number-crunching and record-keeping and you can't claim a second deduction by this method if you're already claiming that cost under the flat rate.
If you're making these sorts of deductions, you'll need records of how many hours you worked from home and evidence you paid for the extra strain on your home facilities.
For specific information on how to process your working at home deductions, see the ATO's working from home expenses guide.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.