Australians spending up to half their pay on work related expenses

EXCLUSIVE: The average Australian spends almost $900 a year on food and coffee during work hours, eating into their take home pay, but add that to all the other work related expenditure, and some workers are losing up to half of their income.

New research, exclusive to SBS World News, has revealed that while we're meant to be working to create wealth, we're actually eating into that wealth with work related costs.

In fact costs associated with generating an income, can eat up to half our take home pay.

Food and beverages are one of the biggest source of work time spending.

A report, compiled and provided to SBS World News by McCrindle Research shows that 75 per cent of working Australians buy food at work at least once a week, spending on average, $18.52 over that period or $889 dollars a year.

But report author, Mark McCrindle says it can be a lot more than that.

"You've got one in five Australians buying lunch every single day and if you add a couple of coffees in for that, that means about $5,000 you're spending a year, just on the food and beverages for work," he said.

Work wear is also a money buster, with $320 spent on average. 

Up-skilling or paying for your own education costs almost $600 on average.

Getting to work; including public transport, petrol, and car ownership costs can pull nearly $5,000 from your wallet or purse, and The average tax bill is more than $16,000 a year.

But Mark McCrindle said the biggest cost is childcare at nearly $18,000.

"If someone is paying full time childcare fees, they're actually spending about one day a week of earnings on that childcare"

All that work time spending, amount to $41,118 a year, which is more than half the average $80,049 annual wage.

There are ways of reducing those costs and given that it's tax time; speaking to your accountant may be a good place to start.

Deborah Kent, a financial adviser at Integra Financial Services says travel to and from work isn't tax deductible.

"However if your employer was to send you interstate for work, then that is tax deductible, so airfares, your meals, taxi fares, any costs, that will be deductible."

Some clothing can be claimed, Deborah said: "If you're asked to wear a uniform and it is related to the company, and the work that you're doing, then it can be deductible. There are other pieces of clothing which can be deducted, safety for instance. If you have to wear a safety vest, or a chef who has to wear certain clothes while he's cooking for safety."

There are childcare rebates available and some training programs can reduce your taxable income.

"As long as again, it is related to the work that you are doing, and it results in a qualification at the end. The ATO has some very good information with what's deductible with education expenses, and there are some calculators too that can tell you whether your course is relevant and how much you can tax deduct on it."

As for that daily flat white or skim piccolo, Deborah Kent offers some practical advice.

"Take your own lunch, maybe make your own coffee in the office, maybe get your employer to buy you a good coffee machine for the office or even chip in to get one so you can reduce the costs there."

Watch Deborah Kent here explain what can or can't be tax deducted:






Source: SBS