COVID-19 test expenses
From 1 July 2021, if you're an employee, sole-trader or contractor and you pay for a COVID-19 test for a work-related purpose, you can claim a deduction for its cost.
On this page
When you can claim COVID-19 testing
From 1 July 2021, to claim a deduction for the cost of a COVID-19 test, you must:
- use the test for a work-related purpose to determine if you can attend or remain at work
- pay for a qualifying COVID-19 test, being a:
- polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test through a private clinic, or
- test listed in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, including rapid antigen test (RAT) kits
- pay for the test yourself (that is, your employer doesn't give you a test or reimburse you for the cost)
- keep a record to prove that you incurred the cost (usually a receipt).
You can only claim a deduction for the COVID-19 tests you paid for that were used by you to determine whether you may attend or remain at work. For example, if you buy a multipack of COVID-19 tests and some of these tests were used for private purposes (such as by other family or household members or for leisure activities), you must only claim a deduction for the portion of the expense you used for a work-related purpose.
We will accept claims for a deduction for the COVID-19 tests in the income year you paid for the tests if the purpose of buying the tests was solely for a work-related purpose and this intention has not changed for any unused tests remaining at the end of an income year. This is to make it easier for you to comply with your tax obligations.
When you can't claim COVID-19 testing
You can't claim the cost of a COVID-19 test where any of the following apply:
- you use the test for private purposes – for example, to test your children before they attend school or day care
- you receive a reimbursement for the expense from your employer or another person
- you received a free COVID-19 test
- you work from home and don't attend another place to either gain or produce your assessable income, or to carry on a business for that purpose.
You also can’t claim a deduction for the travel or parking expenses you incur to buy your COVID-19 test. It does not form part of the cost of the test and is private in nature.
Example: COVID-19 tests you can claim
Mary is a casual employee at a local café. In April 2022 she bought a box of 5 qualifying COVID-19 tests, which she only used before commencing a shift if she had any COVID-19 symptoms or had been in contact with a person who had COVID-19. Her employer doesn't reimburse her for the cost of the COVID-19 tests.
As Mary used all 5 tests to check her COVID-19 status before commencing a shift she can claim a deduction for the total cost of this box of 5 COVID-19 tests.
End of example
Example: personal and work-related use and deductibility
Vinh buys a box of 2 COVID-19 tests at the local pharmacy for $20 in May 2022. He uses one test to confirm he doesn't have COVID-19 before attending a local sporting event. A week later he realises that he has been exposed to COVID-19 and uses the other test to check his COVID-19 status before attending his place of work.
As Vinh used only one of the tests to determine whether he could attend work, he can only claim a deduction of 50% of the purchase price he paid for the pack of 2 COVID-19, this being $10.
End of example
Keeping records for COVID-19 tests
You need to keep records of COVID-19 tests to demonstrate that you paid for the test and the test was for work-related purposes. This may include a receipt or invoice, and evidence such as:
- correspondence from your employer stipulating the requirement to test
- your employer's COVID-19 safety plans and policies
- relevant state health advice or requirements
- diary notes made by you that you used a test to determine whether you could attend or remain at work.
If you don't have a record of your expenses before the law changed on 31 March 2022, we will accept reasonable evidence of your expenses. This may include:
- bank and credit card statements
- a diary or other documents, including receipts, that shows a pattern of buying COVID-19 tests after the law change that could reasonably have applied from 1 July 2021.
Completing your tax return
Once you calculate your deduction, if you're an employee enter the amount at Other work-related expenses in your tax return. Include in the description 'COVID-19 tests'.
If you are a sole-trader or contractor, enter the amount at All other expenses in your Business and professional items schedule.
From 1 July 2021, if you pay for COVID-19 tests such as a rapid antigen test (RAT) or a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for a work-related purpose, you can claim a deduction for its cost.