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Tech at tax time: What to buy in the sales to boost your return

Laptops, phones and other tech you use for work can reduce your taxable income.

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Last updated: 06 May 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Need to know

  • The end of the financial year sees lots of technology brands and retailers cutting prices
  • The sales are a chance to pick up products you can use for work and claim as a last-minute deduction on your tax return
  • Our experts have advice for how to buy many of the products you'll need for working from home

With the discounts building as we approach 30 June, the end of the financial year (EOFY) sales are a great opportunity to pick up tech items for your home office that you can claim as a deduction on your tax return.


The EOFY sales are a good chance to buy work goods you can claim back on tax.

What you can claim

Unfortunately, tax deductions aren't exactly free money and they don't equate to a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement in your tax refund.

Instead, they help reduce your taxable income, which is the figure the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) uses to determine how much tax you owe for the year. 

More deductions leads to less taxable income, which can mean you'll owe less tax.

For a cost to be deductible, it must meet the ATO's three golden rules:

  1. You must have spent your own money on something that directly relates to you earning an income.
  2. You can't have been reimbursed by someone else.
  3. You must have a record of your spending, such as a receipt.

The good news is if you buy an item for work and it costs $300 or less, you can claim the full amount as a single deduction in one tax return.

If you buy something that costs more, such as a laptop, you won't be able to claim it all in one go.

Instead you'll have to claim a proportion of the cost each year as the item depreciates in value over its lifetime.

The ATO has guides on how you can do this by using one of its two recommended formulas, or you can use its depreciation and capital allowances tool, but you'll have to keep track of the product's original value and its effective life.

The tax office sets guidelines for how long various items are meant to last (two years for a laptop, for example) that you can use in your calculations.

If the item you bought is for both personal and work use, you can only deduct the percentage that reflects how much you use the product for work

It's also important to note that if the item you bought is for both personal and work use, you can only deduct the percentage that reflects how much you use the product for work.

So, if you buy a $199 printer and use it for work 60% of the time, you can claim $119.40 as a deduction.

This rule applies whether the deduction is less than $300 and you're claiming it all in one year, or if it's more and you're deducting depreciation over several years.

For more info on how to work this out, see the ATO's guide to deducting assets over $300.

The myDeductions tool in the ATO app is also a useful resource for keeping track of expenses.

Laptops and tablets

These work-from-home essentials are a regular fixture among EOFY bargain stock. Grabbing one before the end of June could help you end your tax year with a decent deduction, if you'll be using the laptop for work.

"Retailers tend to have good EOFY deals, but most vendors also offer good prices if you buy directly from their websites," says CHOICE tech expert Peter Zaluzny

"For example, brands such as Lenovo, Dell and HP typically have some sort of EOFY sale."


Laptop retailers will have sales, but also check manufacturer websites for discounts.

Once you've found a retailer offering good deals, Peter advises thinking about what you'll be using your device for before throwing your cash at the latest models.

"You can save a bit of money by opting for a slightly older laptop released in the last couple of years," he says. "You probably won't notice much of a difference when you're just emailing, browsing or streaming video."

As with many other products, it's also useful to have some perspective and know that EOFY sales aren't the be all and end all.

"Keep an eye on stores throughout the year. Flash sales or brand-specific deals can sometimes offer better prices outside the typical sales periods," Peter suggests.

For more advice, see which sort of laptop could work best for you and get the lowdown on the best performers with our laptop and tablet reviews.


Buying a new phone you'll mostly use for work? You can claim a percentage of the cost at tax time in accordance with the method outlined previously.

But firstly, with all of Australia's major telcos in the process of shutting down 3G services, make sure any phone you buy can run off networks set to become the new standard.

No matter what your budget is for a smartphone, 5G support needs to be top of the list

CHOICE tech expert Denis Gallagher

"No matter what your budget is for a smartphone, 5G support needs to be top of the list," says CHOICE phone expert Denis Gallagher.

With that in mind, expect at least some discounting across the big phone brands.

"Recent announcements of the latest Google Pixel means big discounts are likely for the Google Pixel 8 and also the Pixel 7," Denis explains.

"Also look for premium-priced Oppo and models such as the Oppo Reno 11 and, a new arrival to the Australian shores, the Nothing brand, with a Nothing 2 that may be discounted."


Our tech experts expect discounts on at least some phone models this EOFY.

On the Apple front, anyone hoping that the arrival of new iPhone models could lead to big price drops for older stock might be disappointed.

"Apple's latest iPhone releases don't usually happen until around September, so don't expect any great deals on iPhones," says Denis. 

"But if you are after a bargain, look out for either discounts or Apple Store credits via trade-ins on the iPhone 15 Pro and any of the iPhone 14 series."

For more tips, our experts can walk you through how to buy the best smartphone for your needs, while our testers have been putting the latest smartphones through their paces – see the results in our smartphone review.

Wireless routers and Wi-Fi mesh and extenders

If you're setting up to work from home, you'll of course want all your gadgets working quickly and reliably with a fast wireless router for your Wi-Fi.

Routers usually have a range of around 50 metres in line of sight, but obstructions like walls and furniture can shorten it. If you want to have a stronger signal at the edge of your Wi-Fi range, an extender or mesh network is what you're looking for.

Head to our guide to routers, mesh networks and extenders to understand what could work best in your home and see how the different options compare in our reviews of wireless routers, mesh networks, and NBN modem routers

If you're looking for someone to service your new connections, check out our review of broadband providers.


These office mainstays often feature in EOFY markdowns, and having one on deck can still come in handy, depending on your work.

But these simple appliances can be famously unwieldy and notorious for their high running costs (see our list of five surprising items cheaper than printer ink).

Therefore, while the cheapest printers might be tempting, beware of inefficient models. "You may end up spending a lot more money on ink refills in the long run," warns Peter.

While the cheapest printers might be tempting, beware of inefficient models

You should also think about how much you'll actually use it.

"If you regularly print documents at home, an ink-efficient printer with a high purchase price may be the better option, as your ongoing costs will be lower," Peter explains.

"But if you only print from time to time, then a cheaper one could be fine, as you won't be buying new cartridges very often."

To see which models deliver the best print quality and how much each will cost you annually in ink, see our printer reviews.


Buying a printer at EOFY? Beware of the cheapest models.

Can you deduct the cost of working from home?

If you work from home, you can also claim any extra costs resulting from you spending more time in your house, such as higher internet and phone bills, stationery, or an inflated energy invoice.

The ATO allows you to claim a flat rate of 67 cents per hour that you worked from home, to cover extra use of things like electricity and gas, as well as internet data, stationery and computer consumables, such as printer ink and paper.

Alternatively, you can calculate the actual cost you've incurred (in case it's more than 67 cents per hour), but this will require lots of number-crunching and record-keeping.

If you're making these sorts of deductions, you'll need records of how many hours you worked from home and evidence you paid for the extra strain on your home facilities.

For specific information on how to process your working at home deductions, see the ATO's working from home expenses guide.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.