It’s the beginning of the new financial year and I’m looking at doing my etax online. As I don’t have an accountant guiding me, I was wondering if anyone has some ideas about things you can claim legitimately and things you can’t.

Two tips that might be relevant from David Koch’s latest column –

1. Take advantage of the education tax refund

If you are the parent or carer of a child in primary or secondary school, you may be eligible to claim an education tax refund. Eligible carers or parents can claim up to $750 in education expenses for each child in primary school, with a maximum refund of $375 per child and up to $1,500 in education expenses for each secondary school child, with a maximum refund of $750 for each secondary school child.

Expenses that are covered by the education tax refund include things like computers, software, textbooks and stationery. Things that are not covered include things like school fees, uniforms and excursions. To claim a refund the item must have been purchased between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009.

2. Make sure you claim every eligible tax deduction

To reduce your total tax bill, it’s essential to claim every eligible tax deduction you can. If you donated money to the Red Cross during the Victorian bushfires, for example, make sure you include this in your tax deductions for the 2008-2009 tax year. If you incurred education expenses directly related to your work, make sure you claim this as well. If you have medical expenses in excess of $1,500 you may also be able to claim a 20 percent tax offset for these expenses.

There are also a host of other deductible expenses, depending on your job and your income. But it’s essential if you want to claim these as tax deductions to keep receipts to prove you actually incurred the expense.