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Thread: Buying work related camera equipment??

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    Buying work related camera equipment??

    Just got a new job working for a real estate print company, Full time position. Working as their only photographer but also do some print production and design work when needed.

    Just a question regarding buying new camera equipment - flash, body and a lens or two. . Is that something I could ask them to help me out with in some way? or would it just be that I buy the new equipment and just claim it on tax same as anything else work related (clothes, petrol etc etc).

    Thanks
    Last edited by macdog; 20-08-2011 at 9:19am.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I would imagine if you are an employee, they may supply things for use, but that may or may not suit your brand of gear, or if you are hired as an employee with own tools like a sparky, plumber, mechanic etc then you would have to buy anything you want and claim or more likely depreciate the items as most camera stuff will be +$300 so no immediate deduction.

    I suspect the latter applies as from your other post it seems you are using your own gear. It wouldn't hurt to ask what if any assistance they may be willing to offer in order to help you out, but as a very new employee, I would guess they won't be willing to fork out for that TS lens or Elinchrom lighting gear just yet.

    I do some work for the local paper, and they use all Canon gear and wanted to provide me with their kit when I do a job for them, however I chose to use my own Nikon kit because I know little about Canon, and what they have is a couple of generations old, well used and minimalist at best.
    Last edited by Wayne; 20-08-2011 at 9:50am.

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    Most times I've seen real estate agents taking pics of proprties (including mine), it has been with a P&S camera.

    I am not sure they will be willing to look at thousands of dollars in equipment they might see as unnecessary.

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    One of the local AP members is a RE Agent and uses (mainly) a D60 and Sigma 10-20.
    I seem to remember him claiming his 10-20 on tax as the RE company would not fork out for it.
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    well - let me ask you this - how would you perform your job as an employed photographer without a camera ?

    And its important that you have described yourself as that and not as a real estate agent who also takes marketing pics with their (mainly company provided) P&S.

    So in my view, yes they should be supplying you with a camera - ie what gear they decide you need to perform your job to the level they seek.

    And if you're supplying your own gear, then it could be considered that you should be treated as a subcontractor. This is an area that should be treated with some caution and you should seek the advice from a properly qualified tax accountant.

    On a related matter, I would be ensuring that either they, or you, are covered for Public Liability and Workers Compensation cover. Please dont ignore that important issue as you're putting yourself and others at risk if you're not covered.
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    1. Go to the ATO website.

    2. If they come to the party, OK. But it'll be their equipment, won't it? Sounds like you'll be using your equipment. So until that changes, claim depreciation of your equipment in your tax returns, pro-rata for this year, since you've not long started. It depends on how you feel on using your own equipment, but I don't discern much choice. You won't get heaps off tax, but it helps. The only advantage is that (from memory, like computer equipment) photo equipment is depreciated at a fairly high rate. (Look up the ATO website for details.) If you have to replace a lens, say, or even a body, you can claim that as a full cost replacement rather than depreciating it. To start, you have to work out a reasonable "Opening Written Down Value" since it's not new equipment.

    3. Go to the ATO website.
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    Thanks for the help fellas, had a look at the ATO website and I think my best bet is just to claim on depreciating value, of course it won't be much but it's better than nothing right.

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    Again, you should do more than that - being offered a paid employed role and having to produce your own gear is unwise, and not normal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshots View Post
    Again, you should do more than that - being offered a paid employed role and having to produce your own gear is unwise, and not normal.
    Yeah very true you have a point there. At this point in time I'll be on 3 month probation, during which I also want to see if I even like the job and will decide whether I want to stay there or not after that. The pay is a step back to what I have been earning as well.
    So if I do stay after the probation I think I'll definitely have to stop using my own gear...

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    The thing is on what basis were you hired, many professions like mechanics, carpenters, electricians etc are hired as wage earners/employees and they are expected to provide some of the basic tools of trade, the thing is when that case arises you need to ensure that the remuneration accounts for that. This is of significant importance when the tools of trade used have a finite life or wear with use such as camera gear. Given you note you are the only photographer on staff with this employer, I wonder if they even own any camera gear??

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    Yo could just ask them. Seems a faily basic thing that you should have covered during an interview to me.
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    In all honesty, I can't see why the business wouldn't be interested in supplying the equipment. I think the best thing you can do is do what all government departments do - make a case study. Might sound like a waste of time, but I think a well thought out plan showing the positives on XXX equipment, plus what it will do for the business (in this case, better images, different views).

    Don't be expecting a 5D and a 1000mm lens though Gotta be reasonable and researched with your request.

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    Rather then the ATO web site which can be quite confusing at times make an appointment with an accountant and they will be able to give you the best advice on all the available tax deductions regarding you new position.
    Smile and Be Happy B'cause life's to short to be miserable

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    as Longshots stated already

    if they hired you as a PHOTOGRAPHER for the real estate company, you are expected to have your own gear. If they hired you to do something else ie. print work then asks if you could do the photographer for them also - they are expected to provide the gear.

    stuff the ATO website for advice on equipment depreciation and residual value over time etc - it can be confusing as hell, there is no one better than an experienced accountant that has experience in small business to talk to!

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    OK I've just been through this with my accountant last week. Any purchase under $1000 can be written off against that years tax straight away. Anything over that you have to specify the estimated life of the item and depriciate it each year.

    On the employment question... If these people are employing you fulltime and you are not working for anyone else then they should pay for or supply the equipment, that said when you part ways you return the equipment to them. However you could negotiate a "deal" where they pay you an eqipment allowance, this means the gear is yours and when you leave you take the gear with you. I would never work fulltime for someone who didn't offer this as you could end up spending you wage on the gear and have nothing for rent, food etc.

    If this is a contract, casual or per job basis then you have to supply your own gear and charge them accordingly, you are also free to offer your services elsewhere without their interference. Most photographer work this way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Young View Post
    OK I've just been through this with my accountant last week. Any purchase under $1000 can be written off against that years tax straight away. Anything over that you have to specify the estimated life of the item and depriciate it each year.

    On the employment question... If these people are employing you fulltime and you are not working for anyone else then they should pay for or supply the equipment, that said when you part ways you return the equipment to them. However you could negotiate a "deal" where they pay you an eqipment allowance, this means the gear is yours and when you leave you take the gear with you. I would never work fulltime for someone who didn't offer this as you could end up spending you wage on the gear and have nothing for rent, food etc.

    If this is a contract, casual or per job basis then you have to supply your own gear and charge them accordingly, you are also free to offer your services elsewhere without their interference. Most photographer work this way.
    Hang on a minute. As a full time, and in the past, part time photographer, your advice may be valid, but more concerning, is that it could not be, and therefore could be quite misleading.

    I'm not entirely convinced that your accountants advice is valid on the small amount of information given by the OP. I'd be very wary of posting this type of advice if everyone reads it and thinks - "great as long as I buy my cameras and lenses in under $1000 packages, I can write it all of my expenditure on my hobby to tax". The really important part is that it needs to relate to your work, and more importantly it needs to relate to the terms of your employment.

    So without wanting to cause any offence, I believe this advice could be misunderstood, and is likely to be highly misleading. So if anyone has any questions about buying work related equipment, then they should definitely seek proper advice from a qualified accountant.

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    Absolutely, a purchase can only be offset against the income it produces.

    See an accountant

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