What Support Worker Tax Deductions Can I Claim?

Aaah, tax time: the most wonderful time of the year as you hunt for your Support Worker tax deductions. It's up there with Christmas and Easter. (Okay, maybe not.) 

Unless you’re an ATO guru, tax season is not always a fun time—in fact, it can be pretty stressful, but as a self-employed Support Worker, it only takes a bit of early organisation and it doesn't have to be! So how do you figure out what’s what?

Important - this is general advice only. Always research your own situation.

You probably already know this, but just here’s a quick refresher just in case: tax deductions as a Support Worker help reduce your overall taxable income.

You can deduct anything you’ve purchased for work purposes and to help you generate your income. Deductions help decrease your taxable income.

So what Support Worker tax deductions can you claim?

What can’t you claim? We’ve drawn up this handy guide to help you learn which tax deductions you can typically claim as a Support Worker - and which you can't.

Okay, Give Me The Lowdown On Tax Deductions

The first rule about tax deductions is you can’t claim stuff you were already reimbursed for. For example, if you purchased art supplies to prepare an activity with your client, you can’t claim the supplies as a deduction if your client has already reimbursed you for the supplies. That's double-dipping and a big no-no.

The second rule is you need to be able to prove the expense for it to be a Support Worker tax deduction, so keep all receipts or invoices. The ATO has a free myDeductions app to keep track of all your expenses. It’s a good idea to do it regularly so you’re not left with a giant pile of receipts to deal with on 1 July!

The third rule is you can only claim the work-related part of your expense. Going back to our art store example, if some of the paintbrushes you buy are used in your personal time, you can’t claim that portion as a deduction. 

You can also check out our guide:

How to manage your tax as an independent Support Worker

What Can I Claim As A Support Worker?

Quite a bit actually! As a Support Worker, can typically claim deductions under:

Self-Education

If you do any first aid or CPR training or undertake further studies, such as a Certificate III in Individual Support, or continued professional development, or any training relevant to being a Support Worker, you can claim the cost of those courses. 

You can also claim any work-related books, magazines and journals you might have bought that help you increase your income as a Support Worker. This includes any online subscriptions directly relevant to your line of work and income.

Travel And Vehicle Expenses

But not all travel is created equal. Here’s what you can claim:

Here’s what you can’t claim:

Tip: Keep a logbook of all kilometres you drive and receipts for travel.

Consumables

Anything you purchase to directly use in generating an income or your work can typically be a tax deduction. This includes a diary or notebook to keep client notes in, face masks, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes you use at work, or sunscreen for you and your client when you are out and about. Anything your client or their carer doesn’t reimburse you for, you could claim at tax time. 

Computer, Phone And Internet Costs 

As a Support Worker in this day and age, you’re very likely to use a laptop or your phone for work purposes, such as when you’re logging on to Kynd to check your bookings for example. You may be able to claim a portion of the costs for phone and internet.

You’ll have to estimate what percentage that is. For example, if you use your laptop connected to the internet one hour a day, and you spend 30 minutes on Facebook for your personal use and 30 minutes managing next week’s schedule on Kynd and looking for new activities to do with one of your clients, you might be able to claim 50 per cent of the cost of your internet connection at tax time. 

Similarly, you’ll likely use your phone to make calls for work purposes, so you can claim the related portion of your monthly phone bill and costs as a deduction. 

When it comes to the cost of the phone and laptop or computer themselves, if you purchase them solely for work purposes (i.e., you have your own personal phone and buy a new phone for work only), you can claim the cost of that second phone at tax time. But if you use the one phone for personal and work use, you can’t claim.

Working From Home

Being a Support Worker naturally comes with some paperwork. For example, if you are doing admin which you’ll likely be doing from home, this might require electricity or gas for heating or cooling and lighting. The ATO has a handy home office expenses calculator you can use to work out how much you can deduct.  

More Support Worker Tax Deductions!

There might be other tax deductions you can consider as a Support Worker.

Even if you’re not huge on paperwork, it pays to get organised and keep all your receipts and logs for anything work-related, as it could make a big difference with your tax return (and who doesn’t love a bit more cash back in the bank?).

How Can I Help My Child With Anxiety Before School?

Whether it's your child's first year of school or just the commencement of a new year, anxiety before school can cause a lot of stress on the entire family

As children begin going back to school, many parents find themselves wondering how they can help their child with anxiety when starting school. Thankfully, because so many children deal with anxiety when starting school, a lot of ideas and resources exist to provide assistance.

In this article, we’ll discuss signs and causes of anxiety and offer ideas for managing it. Anxiety may not dissipate entirely in all circumstances. But it can certainly be eased with a little wisdom and support. 

Signs Of Anxiety

Being a parent or Support Worker of a child with anxiety can be a tough gig. Moods can change by the minute. Boundaries get tested. And habits can be unpredictable. 

All children are likely to present with one or more of the signs of anxiety from time to time. Be sure to reflect on what’s usual or unusual for your child’s unique personality. 

Signs of anxiety in children can include: 

What Causes Anxiety Before School?

There are many different reasons children feel anxious before starting school. 

From the simple change of routine to the nervousness of a social setting, it’s important to appreciate how huge the transition from home to school is. 

Friendships, parental separation, pressure to achieve and teacher relationships are a lot to manage for a developing brain. 

You may find your child’s anxiety is short-lived and circumstantial or a sign of something more. Being observant and proactive will ensure you choose the right management path for your child.

How Can I Help My Child With Anxiety When Starting School?

Nutritious meals, plenty of sleep and regular exercise go a long way in reducing anxiety. There are also more specific strategies available for parents guiding their children through school anxiety:

Make Time For One-On-One Communication

Although it may seem natural to have both parents involved in important conversations, your child may feel outnumbered in this situation. It’s also easy for you both to start rambling and conversing independently. Other siblings can also overwhelm things. 

Take time for one-on-one communication in a calm setting without too many distractions. You may wish to take a stroll or go out for a milkshake. Ask simple, open questions like ‘what bits of school do you think you will like best?’ and talk casually about how they are feeling.

Remove The Unknowns With A Clear Plan

Sometimes anxiety heightens with unknowns. Try being clear about what school will be like with statements like "I will be at the office while you are at school" and "you will eat lunch with the other kids". 

Even if your child can’t read, it might help to write their daily schedule down with cues drawn next to each point. You could also put a calendar on the fridge that clearly shows when school is on and when the holidays will be.

Do A Test Run A Week Before The First Day

You may be able to keep anxiety at bay by making the school setting familiar. Consider doing a test run of going to the school the week before it starts. Pack a lunch box into your child’s school bag, suggest they wear an item of the school uniform and drive to the school. 

You can then have a picnic nearby or simply take a walk and eat on a nearby park bench. This allows them to see the school in a calm setting, without hundreds of overly excited kids and frantic parents around. 

Make Mornings As Easy As Possible

Most families with schoolchildren will agree that the before-school morning rush can be mayhem. Preventing this is really important if your child is experiencing anxiety. Prepare as much as you can the night before and leave a few nice things for the morning. 

You may want to have your hair washed and everyone’s outfits set out the night before, but prepare lunches in the morning. You may let your child have some ownership over what’s included for excitement, without too much pressure to make decisions. For example, ‘I’ve made you a yummy sandwich. Would you like lentil chips or popcorn to go with it?’. 

Lastly, prepare for school as if it starts 15 minutes earlier than it does so any mishaps or delays don’t leave you flustered and rushing.

Reference The End Of The Day

Another idea for reducing anxiety before school is to reference the end of the day. This serves as a reminder that your separation is only temporary.

You may want to create a simple but fun thing for you to do together at the end of each day. Just avoid committing to anything you can’t stick to. Some ideas include: 

What Can Schools Do To Help Manage Anxiety with School?

The most important thing to do is make your school aware of how your child is feeling. This means they can go to extra effort to watch out for them and offer additional support. 

Most teachers are well-trained to help children with anxiety. Steps they might take to assist include:

Actively communicate with your school and develop strategies together. They might be able to offer further insights based on what they see of your child in a school setting. It can be very different to what you see at home!

How Can Support Workers Help?

Support Workers can be very helpful in the first few weeks of school. This is particularly true if your child already has a good rapport with them. 

Many NDIS Participants often look for Support Workers to assist with pre and post-school needs.

Your child’s Support Worker might like to:

Remember that anxiety is a natural function of the brain designed to keep us safe and manage risk. The first few weeks of school will typically be the hardest. Stick to your routine and adopt good strategies and your child’s anxiety is likely to ease.