Square-peg expense won’t fit in a round-hole deduction? It could be a D15

Now and then you may be required to look around for a suitable item on your tax return to place an expense that simply doesn’t “fit” in the items reserved for other categories of expenses. These are known as “D15” deductions, and sits in the section of the supplementary tax return where claims can be made that do not fit neatly into the other deduction items that precede it.

In its guidance, the ATO makes it clear that taxpayers should not make claims at D15 for the following:

• expenses relating to their work as an employee
• expenses relating to income from carrying on a business as a sole trader (including personal services income or as a share trader)
• expenses relating to investment planning and advice involving shares, unit trusts and interest-bearing deposits, and
• losses from the disposal of shares or real property that are capital in nature.
But expenses that individual taxpayers may be eligible to claim at D15 include the following (a few of the more obscure ones* are spelled out below):
• election expenses for local, territory, state or federal candidates
• income protection, sickness and accident insurance premiums*
• foreign exchange losses
• debt deductions incurred in earning assessable income that are not disallowed under the thin capitalisation rules and have not been claimed elsewhere
• debt deductions incurred in earning certain foreign non-assessable non-exempt income that are not disallowed under the thin capitalisation rules
• amounts deductible under section 40-880 of ITAA 1997 (five-year write-off for certain business-related capital expenditure) not claimed in full before you ceased business or before you stopped carrying on the business as an individual (for example, if you started to carry on the business through a company or in a partnership)
• a deduction for the net personal services income loss of a personal services entity that related to you personal services income*
• certain deductible capital expenditure not claimed in full before ceasing a primary production business where a deduction can be claimed in a subsequent year or years; for example, water conservation expenditure, which may be deducted over a three-year period
• non-capital losses incurred on the disposal or redemption of a traditional security that are deductible under section 70B of ITAA 1936; ask us for more information, and/or see the section on Sale or disposal of company bonds and convertible notes on page 15 of the ATO document You and your shares 2017 (NAT 2632)
• interest incurred on money borrowed to invest under the infrastructure borrowings scheme if you intend to claim a tax offset at item T10 Other non-refundable tax offsets
• small business pool deductions for depreciating assets of your small business pool that you cannot claim at item P8 on the Business and professional items schedule for individuals because you did not carry on a business in the income year; for more information, see Small business entity concessions
• self-education expenses you incurred in doing a course to satisfy the study requirements of a taxable scholarship.*

To further explain some of the more curly claims listed above (those marked with an asterisk*), the ATO has provided brief guidance.

Self-education expenses related to satisfying the study requirements of a taxable scholarship

You may claim at D15 expenses incurred in meeting the study requirements of a taxable scholarship. However do not claim these expenses here if you were an employee of the provider; claim them at D4 Work-related self-education expenses.

Examples of expenses you can claim are textbooks, stationery, student union fees, student services and amenities fees, the decline in value of your computer and certain course fees.

Note that you cannot claim a deduction for travel from home to your normal place of education and back.

For more information go to the Self-education expenses calculator. The words “Scholarship expenses” can be used if a “Description of claim” is required.

Net personal services income loss of a personal services entity that related to personal services income

There are special rules for the income tax treatment of certain personal services income. Personal services income is income that is mainly a reward for personal efforts or skills and is generally paid to the individual or to a personal services entity (being a company, partnership or trust).

Where the payment was made to a personal services entity and that entity incurred a personal services income loss relating to your personal services income, you can claim a deduction for that loss.

Income protection, sickness and accident insurance premiums

You can claim the cost of any premiums you paid for insurance against loss of income. You must include any payment you received under the policy for loss of income at items 1, 2 or 24 on the tax return.

Note that you cannot claim a deduction for a premium or any part of a premium which you paid under a policy to compensate you for such things as physical injury. Life insurance, trauma insurance and critical care insurance are some types of policies for which premiums are not deductible.

Also note that you cannot claim a deduction for a premium where the policy is taken out through your superannuation fund and the premiums are deducted from superannuation contributions.