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Weird and wacky tax claims revealed

A WEDDDING reception, dental costs, childcare expenses and even Lego sets are some of the bizarre claims Australians are trying to get past the taxman.

The Australian Taxation Office has unveiled some of the weirdest and wackiest expenses Australians tried to get away with when they filed their 2017/18 tax returns.

Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said claims in the "other" expenses category including non-allowable items were lodged by more than 700,000 taxpayers totalling almost $2 billion.

"It's ranging from honest mistakes through to people pushing the envelope and trying to claim something extra in order to make their refund bigger," she said.

"Some people try and claim things which they can't including the cost of raising children, school fees, childcare also medical expenses.

"Some people have tried to claim dentist appointments thinking a nice smile was critical for their job or generally medical expenses."

Ms Foat said these incorrect claims ranged anywhere from a few hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.

Already about four million Australians have filed their tax returns since July 1.
Already about four million Australians have filed their tax returns since July 1.

Since July 1 this year more than 4 million Australians have filed their tax returns, a 17 per cent increase compared to the same time last year.

Ms Foat said other weird claims included Lego sets, rent and health insurance costs and medical expenses.

Claims for personal expenses are not tax-deductible.

To check whether an expense is deductible Australians should refer to the ATO's website, otherwise face having the progress of their return slowed down and they could even face penalties.

H & R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman said the "other" category is quite broad.

"It can cover things as varied as union fees, professional subscriptions, home office expenses and use of your work mobile phone," he said.

"If it's something you think is tax deductible and you haven't already claimed in one of the more specific boxes the best thing to do is to ask your tax accountant if you have one whether what you are going to claim is deductible or not."

In order to successfully claim expenses in the "other" deduction section, three golden rules apply Ms Foat said.

This includes the expense must be directly relating to income, the expenditure cannot have already been reimbursed and you must have receipts or a record of the expense.

sophie.elsworth@news.com.au

@sophieelsworth