Losing your expense receipts complicates the tax claim process because ATO diligently checks your expense records. If your receipts are too faded, or you lost them for some reason, it can become a problem during your next tax return. So what happens now? Can you claim deductions without receipts?
Short answer: Yes, you can!
Tax deductions put your hard-earned money back in your pocket – and losing your expense receipts can be disappointing. After all, you want to maximize your eligible savings and keep more money in your pocket.
Let’s find out what the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) guidelines say about claiming expenses without receipts.
General Rule: Keep Those Receipts!
The ATO has a stringent verification process and requires expense receipts as written evidence of your claims. You can use the following types of receipts to support your claims:
- Standard Cash Register Receipts from in-store purchases.
- EFTPOS or Card Payment Receipts of card transactions.
- Invoice or Tax Invoice showing suppliers’ essential details.
- Online Confirmation Receipts for e-commerce shopping
- Bank or Credit Card Statements showing regular expenses.
- Electronic Mobile App Expense records
- Digital Receipts and Scanned Copies of written receipts.
- Travel Diary showing business trip expense records
- Written Records or Statutory Declarations describing expenses without receipts.
- Photographs work as Supplementary evidence for specific expenses.
Make it a habit of collecting and organizing your receipts throughout the year.
However, you may end up losing some of them unintentionally. There are certain circumstances where the ATO allows deductions without receipts.
Here is a pro tip from us: Organize Smart, Not Hard!
Make a spreadsheet of all your expenses and their receipts to organise your claims.
If you want to skip all that effort, you can simply use an AI-powered Tax Assistant App to reconcile your expenses, receipts, and eligible claims information.
Claim Deductions Without Receipts: The $300 Threshold
You can claim these expenses without receipts if your total work-related deductions amount to $300 or less.
However, you will still need to prove that you incurred these expenses. In such cases, the ATO allows you to use other forms of evidence, such as bank statements or diaries, to support your claims.
ATO Conditions for Claiming Tax Deductions Using Bank Statements or Diaries without Showing Any Receipts
Before you get too excited, understand the ATO rules you must follow.
First things first, the expense must be “allowable.”
So, ask yourself these three crucial questions:
- Is the expense directly related to and essential for your job?
- Did you pay for the expense out of your pocket?
- Were you NOT reimbursed or paid back by your employer (or anyone else)?
If you answered YES to all three, you are in the run to claim deductions without receipts.
But Here is a pro tip: If you find yourself in this situation, don’t go it alone. Chat with Professional CPAs and let them review your evidence before you send it to ATO.
What Deductions Can I Claim Without Receipts?
- Work-related travel expenses:
If your work-related travel expenses are $300 or less, you can claim them without receipts. Keep a travel diary or record to support your claims.
- Uniform and laundry expenses:
Claim expenses for buying, repairing, or cleaning occupation-specific clothing and uniforms, up to $150, without receipts.
- Home office expenses:
For expenses related to working from home, such as office stationery, internet usage, and depreciation on home office equipment, you can claim up to $300 without receipts.
- Mobile phone and internet expenses:
Claim work-related mobile phone and internet expenses up to $50 without receipts. Record the work-related portion of your usage.
- Work-related self-education expenses:
If your self-education expenses are work-related and $300 or less, you can claim them without receipts. Keep records of course fees, travel expenses, and study materials.
Donations of $2 or more to registered charities are tax-deductible. You can claim these without receipts if the total donations are $2 or less.
- Tools and equipment:
Claim expenses for work-related tools and equipment up to $300 without receipts. Keep receipts for amounts exceeding $300.
Other Expenses You Can Claim Without Receipts
- Membership Fees or Union Fees:
These fees are often itemized on your PAYG summary or Income Statement provided by your employer or tax agent. A receipt is usually not required if you have this documentation.
- Fuel/Petrol with a logbook:
ATO requires you to keep a proper car logbook for at least 12 consecutive weeks over 5 years and allows you to calculate work-related kilometres travelled.
Combined with your car’s size and a nominal fuel rate, you can claim a petrol deduction on your tax return. Your MyTax account will show you how to do this.
- Fuel/Petrol without a logbook:
If you still need to maintain a car log book, you can claim deductions by demonstrating how you calculated the number of kilometres you’re claiming. The ATO allows a claim of up to 5,000 km per year under the cents-per-kilometre method.
- Computer Items:
If you have a credit card statement with a note indicating the purpose of the purchase (e.g., a new home office computer from Apple) and a photo of the packaging, it can be used as evidence for your claim.
For stationery expenses, you can use a credit card statement with notes specifying the items purchased (e.g., pack of pens, ruler, paper clicks). Attaching Photos of purchased items is also helpful.
WATCH OUT! ATO’s No-Go Rules for Claiming Deductions Without Receipts
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has strict rules on what they won’t accept as evidence for claiming deductions without receipts.
Let’s break these rules down so you won’t get in trouble:
- No More Cash Excuses:
Paying with cash might be convenient, but it won’t fly with the ATO. Saying, “I paid cash, but I have no records,” won’t cut it – they’ll give your deductions a big thumbs-down.
- Price Tags Alone Aren’t Enough:
Got an item with a price tag still attached? That’s not going to cut it as proof. The ATO needs more than just a price tag; they want a real purchase confirmation, like a bank statement, to back it up.
- Catalogue Won’t Do:
Showing a catalogue or an advertisement with the item’s price and hoping ATO will buy it? Nope, not happening! You need more evidence without a receipt – the catalogue and a bank or credit card statement showing the purchase.
Receipts or not, you can claim deductions by meeting certain criteria and providing solid expense evidence to ATO. Under the $300 threshold, you can claim expenses without receipts, but keep those records ready to back you up!
Think about your credit card statements, travel diaries, and even photos of those work-related goodies. Just ask yourself 3 important things about your expenses: work-related? Paid for it yourself? No reimbursements? If it’s a hat trick of YES, you’re good to go!
Let’s score those savings without showing receipts!