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It’s that time of year again…

Completing a tax return for a nurse can be confusing, especially if you want to maximise your return and not miss out on any deductions. But before we get into the nuts and bolts, I need to put in a boring disclaimer and be very clear that I am not an accountant (I know, shocking right?) and any information shared in this blog should not be considered financial advice.

Tax Deductions For Nurses

So, with that out of the way, let’s dive in. I realise that tax deductions aren’t a particularly fun or engaging topic for my first blog, but there are a LOT of nurses who don’t maximise their returns, and with the EOFY coming up soon I am all about helping you guys get more cash in your pocket! Also, I am acutely aware of the irony of me sitting at my desk, surrounded by receipts that aren’t organised or filed in any cohesive order, while I write this blog!!

What can you claim?

There are standard deductions that you can claim regardless of what area of nursing you work in. Most nurses will be familiar with the standard deductions:

  • Annual Nursing Registration Fee (AHPRA)
  • Union fees (ANMF or equivalent)
  • Professional Association fees (CRANA, ACCCN etc)
  • Work specific equipment. E.g., stethoscope, non-slip shoes, safety glasses etc
  • Stationary. Those 4 colour pens add up, especially with doctors stealing them every 5 mins
  • Log books, diaries
  • Fob watches or specific watches for nursing
  • The watch must have special characteristics that assist in your nursing role. Be warned, Apple watches or similar are considered “ordinary timepieces” and can’t be claimed. Also, if your special nursey fob watch cost more than $300, then you can’t claim the whole cost, just the “depreciation.” If you don’t know what that means, check with your accountant.
  • Educational expenses, provided they relate to your current work. You can claim a BLS/ALS course for example, but you can’t claim for that Cert II in Interpretive Dance or the “Sip and Paint” course you did for stress relief because… pandemic and wearing PPE for the last 2.5 years! Also, the course must be related to your current job, you can’t claim for one you have done in the hope of gaining a different job. Clear as mud, right? Just remember, related to current job? Yes. Not related to current job? No.
  • Laundry. You can claim up to $150 in laundering expenses without receipts. YAY.
  • Mobile phone/laptop/PC/internet – if you use your personal equipment or internet for work, you can claim a percentage of these costs
  • Clothing – Any compulsory uniform (scrubs etc.) with a logo. Compression socks, because no one wants leg veins that you can stick a 16g in from across the room.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Medical/Nursing Journals
  • Last years accountants fee for filing your return
  • Travel to and from your accountant’s office to file your return

Now, let’s chat about non-traditional nursing roles, and what you can claim.

Travel Nurse/Rural & Remote Nurse – you can claim sunscreen hat, bug repellent, personal alarm etc if your work requires you to be outdoors. You may also be able to claim travel expenses, provided your employer or agency hasn’t already reimbursed you.

Community Nurse – If you need to travel from your workplace to a patient/client’s home. Don’t forget to keep a logbook to back up your claim.

COVID-19 related – Any PPE you have purchased yourself for work. RAT tests. Personally, I think we should be able to claim wine under this heading, but that’s a fight for another day ????

Regardless of what area you work in, these three golden rules for your tax Return always apply

  1. You must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed.
  2. The claim must directly relate to earning your income.
  3. You must have a record to prove it.

Nurse Nikki’s Top Tax Tips

  1. Be organised. Get a folder, a filing cabinet, one of those little accordion filing thingys, an envelope or SOMETHING to keep your receipts in.
  2. If you’re not sure you can claim it, keep the receipt anyway and discuss with your accountant
  3. If you need new equipment, new scrubs, a new stethoscope etc, buy them before the EOFY (end of financial year) so you can claim on your tax return
  4. Start a spreadsheet to keep track of expenses
  5. Get an accountant
  6. Get an accountant
  7. Get an accountant

Before I wrap up my first blog, I want to share with you all my favourite fact about tax deductions for nurses.

There is an allowance (and I’m quoting directly from the ATO here) “for work that may be unpleasant, special or dangerous.”

I don’t know about you guys, but that sounds to me like every nurse who ever worked a shift anywhere!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first blog from Nursed at the Seams. Stay tuned for next time, where I’ll be talking about the effects of the pandemic on our recently graduated nurses, and nursing students.

Nurse Nikki

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