Self-education expenses are expenses related to a prescribed course of education provided by a school, college, university or other place of education. The course must be undertaken to gain a formal qualification for use in carrying on a profession, business or trade or in the course of employment. You can claim a deduction for the cost of self-education if there is a direct connection between your self-education and your work activities at the time the expense was incurred.
Self-education expenses can include textbooks, stationery, student union fees, course fees, certain travel expenses and the decline in value of equipment (see Capital allowances) to the extent they are used for self-education purposes.
In certain circumstances you may have to reduce your deduction for self-education expenses by $250. However, you may have other types of expenses (some of which are not deductible) that can be offset against the $250 before you have to reduce the amount you can claim.
Did you have any other expenses relating to your work as an employee?
Here is a list of other expenses commonly incurred by hospitality industry employees. See question D5 in TaxPack for more information about the deductibility of these expenses. You cannot claim costs met by your employer or costs that are reimbursed, see Reimbursements.
Answering machines, mobile phones, pagers and other telecommunications equipment
For information about claiming deductions for the decline in value of answering machines, mobile phones, pagers and other telecommunications equipment, see Capital allowances.
Calculators and electronic organisers
For information about claiming deductions for the decline in value of calculators and electronic organisers used for work, see Capital allowances.
You can claim a deduction, called a capital allowance, for the decline in value of equipment used for work. If the equipment is also used for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the decline in value.
You cannot claim a deduction if the equipment is supplied by your employer or any other person.
Generally, the amount of your deduction depends on the effective life of the equipment.
Equipment costing $300 or less
If you purchased equipment costing $300 or less and you use it mainly for work, you can claim an immediate deduction for the work-related portion of the cost.
You cannot claim an immediate deduction if:
- the equipment is part of a set that you buy in the same income year and the total cost of the set is more than $300 (the set rule), or
- the equipment is one of a number of identical or substantially identical items you buy in an income year and the total cost of the items is more than $300 (the multiples rule).
There is also an option to pool equipment costing less than $1,000 and equipment written down to less than $1,000 under the diminishing value method. A deduction for the decline in value of equipment in such a low-value pool is worked out by a single calculation using set rates.
For more information on claiming a deduction for the low-value pool, see question D6 of TaxPack and make your claim at item D6 on your tax return.
Equipment for which you may be able to claim a capital allowance includes:
- answering machines, telephones, facsimile machines, mobile phones, pagers and other telecommunications equipment
- calculators and electronic organisers
- computers and computer software
- a professional library
- tools and equipment.
For more information about claiming deductions for the decline in value of equipment, see the Guide to depreciating assets 2011.
Cash or bar shortages
You can claim a deduction for the cost of making up cash or bar shortages.
You cannot claim a deduction for child care expenses. These are private expenses even if you need to pay for child care to go to work.
Computers and software
For information about claiming deductions for the decline in value of computers and software, see Capital allowances.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of getting or renewing your drivers licence as it is a private expense.
You cannot claim a deduction for fines imposed under a law of the Commonwealth, a state, a territory, a foreign country or by a court, for example, a fine you received if you were caught speeding when driving between jobs.
First aid courses
You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you, as a designated first aid person, are required to undertake first aid training to assist in emergency work situations.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of renewing your special employees licence. You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of getting your initial licence.
Glasses and contact lenses
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of buying prescription glasses or contact lenses as it is a private expense relating to a personal medical condition.
Grooming including hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products
You cannot claim a deduction for these as they are private expenses.
You can claim the costs of hiring equipment used for work. If the equipment is also used for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the hire cost.
You can claim a deduction for the additional running expenses of an office or a study at home that you use for income-producing activities. Running expenses include decline in value of home office equipment, the costs of repairs to your home office furniture and fittings, and heating, cooling, lighting and cleaning expenses. You cannot claim occupancy expenses, for example, rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums, unless you are carrying on a business. If your only income is paid to you as an employee, you are not considered to be carrying on a business.
Diary records noting the time the home office was used for work are acceptable evidence of a connection between the use of a home office and your work. You will need to keep diary records during a representative four-week period. For more information on what records you should keep and the calculation of home office expenses, see Law Administration Practice Statement PS LA 2001/6 - Home office expenses: diaries of use and calculation of home office expenses.
Place of business
You can claim a deduction for part of the running and occupancy expenses of your home if you use an area of your home as a place of business. Taxation Ruling TR 93/30 - Income tax: deductions for home office expenses has information on whether or not an area set aside has the character of a place of business.
There may also be capital gains tax implications if you sell your home and it has been used as a place of business.
Insurance of equipment
You can claim a deduction for the cost of insuring your tools and equipment to the extent that you use them for work.
You can claim the cost of interest on money borrowed to purchase work-related equipment. If the equipment was also used for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the interest.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of meals eaten during a normal working day as it is a private expense, even if you receive an allowance to cover the meal expense. For information about claiming deductions for the cost of meals eaten during overtime, see Overtime meals.
Newspapers and magazines
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of newspapers as it is a private expense.
You may be able to claim a deduction for overtime meal expenses you incurred if you received an overtime meal allowance from your employer which was paid under an industrial law, award or agreement. To claim a deduction, you will need written evidence if your claim per meal is more than the rate stated in TaxPack for overtime meals. You can only claim for overtime meal expenses incurred on those occasions when you worked overtime and you received an overtime meal allowance for that overtime. Amounts received as overtime meal allowance must be included as income at item 2 on your tax return.
If you have received an award overtime meal allowance not shown on a payment summary, you may choose not to include the allowance as income at item 2 on your tax return and not claim a deduction, as long as the allowance does not exceed the Commissioner's reasonable allowance amounts and you have fully expended it.
An amount for overtime meals that has been folded in as part of your normal salary and wage income is not considered to be an overtime meal allowance.
For more information, see Taxation Determination TD 2010/19 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for 2010-2011 income year? This determination should be read together with Taxation Ruling TR 2004/6 - Income tax: substantiation exception for reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expenses.
Removal and relocation
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost involved in taking up a transfer in an existing employment or taking up new employment with a different employer.
Seminars, conferences and training courses
You can claim a deduction for the cost of attending seminars, conferences and training courses that are sufficiently connected to your work activities.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of street directories, logbooks, diaries, pens and other stationery to the extent that you use them for work.
Technical or professional publications
You can claim a deduction for the cost of journals, periodicals and magazines that have a content sufficiently connected to your employment as a hospitality employee.
Telephone calls, telephone rental and connection costs
You can claim a deduction for the cost of work-related telephone calls.
You can claim a deduction for your telephone rental if you can show that you are on call or are regularly required to telephone your employer while you are away from your workplace. If you also use your telephone for private purposes, you must apportion the cost of telephone rental between work-related and private use.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of connecting a telephone, mobile phone, pager or any other telecommunications equipment as it is a capital expense.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of an unlisted telephone number (silent number) as it is a private expense.
Tools and equipment
For information about claiming deductions for the decline in value of tools and equipment used for work, see Capital allowances.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of repairing tools and equipment for work. If the tools or equipment were also used for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the repair cost.
Union and professional association fees
You can claim a deduction for these fees. If the amount you paid is shown on your payment summary, you can use it to prove your claim. You can claim a deduction for a levy paid in certain circumstances, for example, to protect the interests of members and their jobs.
You cannot claim a deduction for:
- joining fees, or
- levies or other amounts you paid to assist families of employees suffering financial difficulties as a result of employees being on strike or having been laid off.
- Make sure you write down all your income on your tax return. Include benefits you received from the government, income from a second job and interest you received from a bank, building society or credit union.
- Sign your tax return. It is your responsibility to make sure your tax return is correct even if you use a registered tax agent.
- Keep all the records you need to prove your deduction claims. TaxPack tells you which records you need, and how long you need to keep them.
- Ask for help if you need it, from your registered tax agent or phone us.
- For general tax information, search this site
- For comprehensive information about deductions, go to Deductions essentials
Publications referred to in this guide are:
To get a publication referred to in this guide:
We can offer a more personalised service if you provide your tax file number (TFN).
- Individual 13 28 61
Individual income tax and general personal tax enquiries, including capital gains tax
- Business 13 28 66
Information about business income tax, fringe benefits tax (FBT), fuel tax credits (FTC), goods and services tax (GST), pay as you go (PAYG) and activity statements, including lodgment and payment, accounts and business registration (including Australian business number and tax file number), and dividend and royalty withholding tax.
- Superannuation 13 10 20
If you do not speak English well and need help from the ATO, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone the ATO through the National Relay Service (NRS) on the numbers listed below, and ask for the ATO number you need:
- TTY users, phone 13 36 77. For ATO 1800 free call numbers, phone 1800 555 677.
- Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users, phone 1300 555 727. For ATO 1800 free call numbers, phone 1800 555 727.
- Internet relay users, connect to the NRS at www.relayservice.com.au
Why not lodge online using e-tax?
- E-tax is our free online tax preparation and lodgment software.
- E-tax is secure, user friendly, and you can access your individual information using the pre-filling service.
- Most refunds are issued within 14 days.
- For more information, go to www.ato.gov.au/etax
Self-assessment means the ATO uses the information you give on your tax return and any related schedules and forms to work out your refund or tax liability. We do not take any responsibility for checking the accuracy of the details you provide, although our system automatically checks the arithmetic.
Although we do not check the accuracy of your tax return at the time of processing, at a later date we may examine the details more thoroughly by reviewing specific parts, or by conducting an audit of your tax affairs. We also have a number of audit programs that are designed to continually check for missing, inaccurate or incomplete information.
What are your responsibilities?
It is your responsibility to lodge a tax return that is signed, complete and correct. Even if someone else, including a tax agent, helps you to prepare your tax return and any related schedules, you are still legally responsible for the accuracy of your information.
What if you lodge an incorrect tax return?
If you become aware that your tax return is incorrect, you must contact us straight away.
Initiatives to complement self-assessment
There are a number of systems and entitlements that complement self-assessment, including:
- the private ruling system (see below)
- the amendment system (if you find you have left something out of your tax return)
- your entitlement to interest on early payment or over-payment of a tax debt.
Do you need to ask for a private ruling?
If you are uncertain about how a tax law applies to your personal tax affairs, you can ask for a private ruling. To do this, complete a Private ruling application form (not for tax professionals) (NAT 13742), or contact us.
Lodge your tax return by the due date, even if you are waiting for the response to your application. You may need to request an amendment to your tax return once you have received the private ruling.
We publish all private rulings on www.ato.gov.au/rba. We edit the text to remove all information that could identify you.
Last Modified: Wednesday, 29 June 2011