When I was in Germany in the 80's I was used to writing off from my taxes the money I spent on my own computers (starting in ca 1982 with the Osborne 1) and software/computer books.
So when I came to Finland in 1989 when it came to do my taxes I asked around; found everyone saying that it was virtually impossible to get private computing costs deleted from taxes; but decided to do so anyway - hanging the deductions on the fact that my title was "Internal Consultant" - and got them through.
Now with my marginal tax rate (and, yes, that was for a normal IT job at a normal salary) at around 50%, it was naturally quite useful to be able to deduct computing costs from taxes even though they only allowed a 33% deduction per year (later reduced to 25%) and - unlike the Germans - in following years only allowed you to deduct 33/25% of what was left (which means that deductions continue until they decide that the paperwork for a 10 Euro deduction isn't worth their time and write off the whole 10 Euros at one go).
Once the principal had been established I was able to every year in my tax returns justify the deduction by saying "the reasons are the same as in 1990, 1991, 1992 etc. and the deductions continued to go through.
However in 2010 I took early retirement and so 2011 was my first full year when I wasn't earning (and my pension was from the 20 years in Finland only (- and therefore small - with pensions from other countries - each small, but they add up - only starting to come in mid 2012), so there wasn't as much money as before and so I stuck to the computers I already had.
This gave me a couple of problems when filling out my tax returns for 2011.
1. I was no longer working.
However I still "worked" on the forums (no payments); my web site ($100 a year if lucky these days) and although there was no new book, I was still able to get some royalties from the old books.
So I could justify write-offs mainly from "writing books" even though the write-off was almost as much as the income used to pay for it.
2. I hadn't bought any new portable and although I had been forced to buy a new printer because the old one had given up the ghost I could no longer find the invoice for it (and it anyway had been a €100 one).
So I scraped through the invoices I had and found one for the iPad and submitted that.
NOW we finally get to the title of this piece....
This is what I have so far
- I use the iPad to monitor the forums on a many times a day basis (on a "real" computer I was doing that maybe 2 or 3 times a day. (No longervalid, but valid for the whole of 2011)
- I deal with most of my e-mail on the iPad which include computer questions.
- I put pdf files of SharePoint/Windows books on it and read them there.
- ditto for the occasional free issue of Windows IT Pro and SQL Server magazine the publisher sends me.
- There's a software available for the iPad which I use to read information from my SP web sites off-line.
- I subscribe to a computer magazine's iPad edition.
So with those, I'm perhaps prepared for the almost inevitable question from the Finnish tax authorities (*) about how do I justify deducting the iPad.
[Further suggestions are welcome - I might well be using it for some of them already, but they don't come to mind]
(*) The Finnish tax authorities being Finns - actions rather than words - are likely not to contact me to ask me to justify it. They are more likely simply going to deduct it (or accept it).
The only way I have ever found out in the past that they have decided to write off the entire amount (€ 10,35 say) of what was left from my (say) 1990 computer deductables was when I visited them in person and asked them.
Otherwise, they simply do their thing and you are supposed to work out from the difference between what you have calculated you have to pay in back tax and what they say you have to pay how they arrived at the difference. [Too much effort, so these days I have residual costs of € 6 that I deduct 25% from...]
P.S. Sometimes I sigh for the Germans. Their tax people sent me a little handwritten note when they returned my revised tax return which said exactly why they hadn't approved of my 5 DM reduction. [So I knew where I stood the next year.]