Voice of Regional Australia: Furry friends, FOMO and the tax man

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The paw-sitive power of puppy love. Photo: Guide Dogs Australia

The paw-sitive power of puppy love. Photo: Guide Dogs Australia

I don't know about you, but if I can give a friendly pup a pat it immediately brings on a smile and a sense of joy.

It's no secret that dogs generally improve people's mood. So it wasn't much of a surprise when Guide Dogs Australia released figures showing more than 80 per cent of Aussie dog owners they surveyed said their fury friends helped them stay positive in lockdown. Their Pawgust campaign encourages people to get out walking with their dogs in August to raise funds and awareness for the charity.

Dogs were being bought, sold, and re-homed left, right and centre during the pandemic, as people saw the opportunity to bring a new family member into their locked-down lives. And to be honest... I'm completely jealous. I missed the boat on adopting a dog during lockdown and instead had to get my puppy-love fix from my social media feed of dog rescue pooches, with their big eyes and cool bandanna collars.

I've always had dogs throughout my life and so not having a four-legged friend in the past few years, especially in the more recent months, has left me with some feelings of 'missing out'. Yeah that buzz word... FOMO.

But as it turns out, I'm not the only one. It could be one of the explaining factors of the second wave of toilet paper hoarding in parts of Australia recently. The experts are leaning toward 'the fear of missing out' as the main predictor of respondents stockpiling in June.

More than half these "late" stockpilers did not do so in April. With more outbreaks of panic buying predicted over the next 12 months as new COVID-19 hotspots emerge, perhaps we need to find ways to better manage our FOMO, to stifle panic buying... and curb another wave of toilet jokes.

With so many of us working from home these days, having enough loo roll is definitely important. But don't be fooled into thinking you can claim it on your tax. With rumours flying everything from coffee to toilet paper can be claimed while working from home, the Australia Tax Office has announced it will be looking closely at home expenses this tax season.

That's right, despite your best efforts to turn that spare room into a home office (that until lockdown started was a black hole of miscellaneous household items and baskets of clean laundry waiting to be sorted) there are a few things that individuals won't be able to claim as business expenses. Loo roll is one... and coffee is another. But there's still lots you can claim, just be careful because the tax man is watching.

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