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Working from home? Save on your tax


There is something about becoming a parent that seems to inspire an entrepreneurial streak in some people.

Whether it’s from a desire to stay home with the kids, or a realisation that it’s important to follow your dreams, lots of new parents are choosing to work for themselves. Just look at the boom in businesses such as Doterra and Jamberry.

If you’re running a small business from home, you may think things like tax deductions do not apply to you.

But the good news is, if you have an intention to make a profit,  then small businesses can claim some of their expenses – and in doing so, minimise their tax bill.

Here are some things to think about claiming as expenses against your income when you do your tax return.

–          A portion of the rent or mortgage interest on your house.

–          A portion of your power bill, broadband rates and insurance.

–          The running costs of your car (you may need to do a logbook for this).

–          Any stationery that you use in the course of your business.

–          The cost of any samples you use to show your customers.

–          Postage costs.

–          Fifty per cent of your entertainment costs if you take clients or customers out to try to win their business, or if you provide snacks for product parties.

–          A proportion of your insurance bill.

–          The cost of any advertising you do, even if it’s just an occasional Facebook ad.

–          Accommodation and food costs if you travel out of town for a conference or convention with your business.


If you’re unsure, get advice specific to your situation contact a good accountant who specialises in small business. It’s our job to make this stuff easy.

  • Jeremy Tauri is an associate at Plus Chartered Accountants.

Yep, it’s all your fault

When you become a mother, there are a few things that you have to get used to.

Off the top of my head: Smelling like a milky dish cloth. Finding smears of yellow poo on your hands almost an hour after you changed the baby. And most importantly: Everything being your fault.

Pretty much from the moment you fall pregnant, you get used to the idea of being to blame for everything.

Baby growing too fast? It’s probably what you’re eating. Baby not growing fast enough? Maybe you’re doing too much exercise.

Then you go to have the baby. Labour doesn’t progress? It’s probably because you were stressed. Where were your essential oils and Enya?

You think that’s bad but then it really begins. Your baby isn’t sleeping or is suffering from colic? It must be because you’ve eaten something that’s got into your breast milk and interfered with your child’s stomach. How dare you eat what you like.

You haven’t got enough of a milk supply to keep up with your baby? Obviously you’re not feeding often enough or eating enough almonds or drinking enough nursing tea or protein shakes or whatever else anyone can think of.

When they’re toddlers throwing tantrums or looking for attention it’s because mum is spending too much time working, or is too busy with a new baby, or – here’s where you really can’t win – is too attentive and isn’t giving the child space to grow.

When they won’t go to bed at night it’s because you’re too firm, or too gentle, or you haven’t got them into a good routine or you’ve fed them the wrong type of carbohydrate for dinner and now they can’t digest it all before they are meant to be asleep.

If they’re having trouble using the toilet it’s because you rushed them and they weren’t ready or you waited too long and missed the magic window.

Maybe looking for ways to blame yourself is just a part of being a mother. It  would seem so judging by the sheer numbers of us happily doing it.

But if we’re going to do that, we should at least take some of the credit, too. The same women who beat themselves up because “they” are doing something wrong and causing their baby strife are usually the same ones who are quick to deflect any suggestion that they have got it right when things are going smoothly.

So next time someone compliments you on your baby, brush off the urge to reply with something like “she’s such a good baby, I’m so lucky”. Instead try out something like: “Yeah, I did that.” After all, you’ve earned it.

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I’m a phone addict, and that’s okay

Before I had kids, using my phone was just something I did. I’d check my email, scroll my newsfeed, make some work calls, maybe send a message asking my husband what he was having for lunch.

Now my phone comes with a whole side of guilt.

If you read anything to do with smartphones and parenting, it’s all packed with how awful we all are for being glued to our screens. I see mums posting on online groups about seeing others at the park engrossed in their phones, or sharing judgey comments about people who check their emails when they are on playdates.

But I’d like to raise a flag in support of these phones.

In a world with no smartphones, life would be very different for my family. Sure, my husband and I wouldn’t get caught looking at them when we should be watching kids navigate the slide for the 13th time.

But we probably wouldn’t be at the playground in the first place.

I work from home so I can pretty much do my job from anywhere. If my son wants to go to the park, I can pack up my notebook, my pen and my phone and do that. We might take his little sister in the stroller and slowly walk there, stopping to investigate the neighbour’s garden and talk to a couple of cats on our way past.

But my phone will be with me, and I will – unapologetically – be keeping an eye on it, answering calls and replying to emails.

The occasional glance at the screen is what gives me the peace of mind that we can be out having fun, and that I am on top of work. If I did not have my favourite little device, I would have to stay home during any and all business hours, just in case something came up that needed immediate attention.

My phone actually increases the amount of time I get to spend with my kids. I can do the minimum required to keep things running during the day, conduct my interviews and arrange my ideas, and then plough through the bulk of the real work once the small people are in bed at night.

I also manage my sanity through my phone. If my son’s having a massive meltdown, I might take a minute to log on to my coffee group’s Facebook page and vent. I’ll get a couple of supportive messages in reply, and usually a good suggestion to calm both of us down. A couple of minutes later, we’re back on our way again.

Without my phone, I’d miss that connection and feel much more adrift and unsure of myself.

I would never advocate ignoring your kids in favour of your phone – I do my best to make sure that they never feel I’d rather focus on the piece of technology in the palm of my hand. Both my husband and I always put our phones down when we’re having dinner together as a family. At the weekend, I do my best to make sure my phone is in my bag as much as possible.

But I think it’s time to cut parents some slack. We need to stop bashing parents for their connection to the outside world.

Sure, they didn’t have cellphones, but my own parents were not 100 per cent focused on us all the time when we were children, either. Sometimes we would play alongside them while they did chores, read a book or watched TV. Heaven forbid, sometimes they were talking to each other – not to us.

How is the occasional glance at a phone any different? There is so much pressure for modern parents to focus on nothing but their kids, devising new and exciting ways to stimulate them for every waking hour – it’s patently unrealistic.

Anything that gives us flexibility and connection has to be good. For our kids to see us having fulfilling careers and juggling that with a family life that is clearly very important to us can only be positive.