The Australian Defence Force and the Australian Tax System

The Australian Defence Force and the Australian Tax System

There are a number of financial benefits available to ADF personnel when they complete their annual personal tax returns.

Defence tax

As a member of the Australian Airforce, Army or Navy it is likely that you will acquire some expenses over the course of each year relating to training courses, travel, Field equipment, uniforms, and other general expenses. These can be claimed as possible deductions. In addition to these, there may be zone offsets for eligible personnel regarding certain postings and deployments. Lastly all fulltime ADF members have some form of exemption towards Medicare Levy.

When it is time to lodge your annual personal tax return, these exemptions, deductions, and offsets can be difficult to navigate and present a challenge to fully comprehend the extent of entitlements on offer. It is a worthy exercise to think about cataloguing any expenses associated with your deployment or postings over the year, as well as keeping receipts where possible when they relate to field equipment, Kilometers travelled for work, uniform expenses, and compulsory mess memberships.

For this reason, Austax exists to expertly provide a service to the ADF that focuses on knowing the extent of these entitlements and benefits. We offer advice on how best to approach the yearly return to get the most out of these entitlements, as well as filing the return on their behalf.

Defence Tax Tips

There is a range of defence tax tips worthy of noting:

  1. Know your exemptions.
    1. When enlisted and serving as a member of the ADF (whether it be full-time or a Gold Card holder) you are entitled to medical treatment under the ADF program and therefore you will receive an exemption from the annual Medicare levy.
  2. Know your deductions.
    1. You may be entitled to claim deductions that cover uniform costs, costs for courses, training, field equipment, and travel related expenses. If you are required to purchase or repair a uniform, related clothing, or footwear that is mandated by your position and rank, then you are eligible to claim these expenses as a tax deduction. The same is true for field equipment or tools you may have purchased that are used at work or need to be repaired, and have a value below a certain marker, as well as expenses related to travel if you are travelling to attend meetings, training, conferences or are travelling to and from a military base carrying bulky equipment.
    2. You are also entitled to deductions that fall under the category of “general expenses”, that are open to all Australian citizens. These deductions can be added to your tax return when lodged, and are typically expenses you have incurred for items that relate to your profession, as well as donations to charitable organisations, tax agent fees (of which Austax clients are eligible), a proportion of internet and phone costs, home office expenses, and even income protection insurance dues.

Whatever may be the total list of possible exemptions, deductions or offsets, as a member of the Australian Defence Force, it is worth considering the possible financial benefits of speaking with taxation experts in this field, or familiarising yourself with these deductions and entitlements for enlisted personnel, prior to lodging your annual personal tax return. It may mean the difference between a mediocre financial return and a sizeable one.