Show download pdf controls
  • Adult industry workers – deductions you may be able to claim

    As an adult industry worker, here are some of the deductions you can and cannot claim.

    When you can make a claim

    To claim a work-related deduction:

    • you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
    • it must be directly related to earning your income
    • you must have a record to prove it.

    Note: You can claim everything you purchase from a sex shop for work.

    If you are a sole operator in the adult industry, you pay the same income tax and are entitled to the same deductions as people who earn a wage or salary. You are a sole operator if you:

    • do not collect a wage
    • are unlikely to employ staff
    • are considered to carry on a business.


    When we say:

    • you – we mean you as an adult industry worker
    • sole operator or independent contractor – we mean that you work for yourself, or contract your services to others – for example, as an escort, stripper or dancer
    • tax deduction – we mean money spent supporting your work, which can then be used to reduce your assessable income and the amount of tax you pay.

    Common expenses for adult industry workers


    You can claim a deduction for the total cost of advertising your business in the adult industry.

    Child care

    You may be eligible to claim the child care rebate. You cannot claim a deduction for child care expenses.

    For information about the child care rebate payments, contact the Family Assistance Office (FAO):


    You can only claim a deduction for the cost of clothing you use solely for earning income, including costumes and lingerie. You can't claim a deduction for items such as dresses, skirts, blouses, trousers, shirts and shoes for everyday use.


    You can claim a deduction for consumable items you use solely for earning income, including condoms, lubricants, gels, oils and tissues.

    Cosmetics and hair care

    You can claim a deduction for stage make-up and products you use for removing stage make-up. Some brands of make-up sold in department stores are considered stage make-up, and some stage make-up stores sell make-up that is not grease-paint based. In both of these cases, you can claim the costs of this make-up. You can't claim a deduction for the cost of general hairdressing and make-up or beauty treatments.

    Dance lessons

    You can claim a tax deduction for the cost of classes you take to maintain your existing dance skills, or to learn new dance skills.


    You can't claim a tax deduction for the cost of maintaining your general fitness and body shape.

    Motor vehicles

    You can claim your motor vehicle expenses if you use your motor vehicle in the course of operating your business – for example, to travel from client to client. Unless you use your home as a place of business, you generally cannot claim the cost of travel between your home and place of work.

    See also:


    If you operate your business from home and you maintain only one telephone – mobile or landline – you can claim part of your telephone rental and the cost of your business phone calls.

    If you use your phone – mobile or landline – solely for business (this would usually be a second phone) you can claim a deduction for its expenses.

    If you use a phone for both business and private calls, you can claim a deduction for business calls and part of the rental costs. Use the following formula to work out the percentage of phone rental expenses you can claim:

    Number of business calls you made and received multiplied by 100 then divided by number of total calls made and received

    You can identify business calls from an itemised phone account. If you do not have an itemised account, you can keep a record for a representative four-week period to work out a pattern of business calls for the entire year (provided you have a regular pattern of use throughout the year).

    You can't claim:

    • installation or connection costs
    • expenses incurred for the early cancellation of a mobile phone contract (these are not an allowable deduction because they're not incurred in gaining assessable income and are of a capital nature)
    • cost of an unlisted telephone number.

    Tools and equipment

    You can claim the cost of replacing or repairing equipment (such as fetish equipment), adult novelties (such as vibrators), and other items you use in your work. You can't claim the full cost of such items in the year you purchased them because they are classified as capital expenses. However, these can be depreciated or 'written down' over their effective life.

    You can immediately depreciate the total cost of capital items you purchase for less than $20,000 if both of the following apply:

    • you operate a small business, and
    • you have elected to use the small business entity provisions.

    Tax agent fees

    You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to:

    • prepare income tax returns and activity statements
    • object or appeal against an assessment
    • get professional tax advice from a registered tax agent, barrister or a solicitor.

    If you pay someone to help you complete and lodge your tax return, we recommend you use a registered tax agent. Only a registered tax agent can charge a fee to prepare and lodge your tax return, and you can only claim that fee as a tax deduction if the tax agent is registered.

    To find out if a tax agent is registered, contact the Tax Practitioners Board: Link

    • phone 1300 362 829.

    Claiming your 'place of business' expenses

    Home office

    If you work from home, you can claim a deduction for the additional expenses you incur to run your office or room for business purposes.

    This can include electricity and cleaning costs, and part of the decline in value (depreciation) of equipment and fittings.

    If you own your home and use an area as a place of business, you can also claim a deduction for part of your rates, mortgage interest and other expenses. However, capital gains tax will apply when you sell your home.

    The following factors can help you decide whether the area of your home you use has the character of a 'place of business'. The area needs to be:

    • clearly identifiable as a place of business
    • not readily suitable or adaptable for use for private or domestic purposes in association with the home generally
    • used exclusively or almost exclusively for carrying on a business
    • used regularly for visits of clients or customers.

    If you rent your home, you can also claim a portion of your rent as a business expense. You can also claim a portion of your electricity and water.

    See also:

    Separate premises

    If you maintain separate premises that you use solely for work, you can claim a deduction for all the expenses you incur in maintaining those premises. You can also claim a deduction for casual rental of work premises, such as 'room only' or hourly rental costs.

    See also:

    Records you must keep

    Depending on your circumstances, you may need to keep receipts of your work-related expenses for which you intend to claim an income tax deduction. You don't need receipts if your work-related expenses are $300 or less, but you must be able to show the deduction relates to your income and how you calculated the amount you claimed.

    If you claim more than $300 for work-related expenses, you need to keep written records as evidence of the whole amount, not just the amount over $300. The $300 does not include claims for car, meal allowance and travel allowance expenses – there are special written evidence rules for these claims. We accept a wide range of documents as written records of your claim, including:

    • paper or electronic copies of documents such as invoices, receipts or delivery notes
    • statements from financial institutions, such as credit card statements
    • BPAY® receipt numbers
    • pay as you go payment summaries
    • warranty documents.
    ® Registered to BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518

    You need to keep your written evidence of work-related expenses for five years from the due date for lodging your tax return. If you lodge your return after the due date, the five years start from this later date.

    As a sole operator, you must complete an income tax return to report your income and claim your tax deductions for each income year. You can lodge your tax return:

    What next

    For more information about claiming work-related expenses and how tax applies to the adult industry, refer to:

    You can also phone us on:

    • 13 28 66 for general business enquiries
    • 13 10 20 for superannuation enquiries
    • 13 28 61 for personal tax enquiries.

    Note: Our operators are discreet and will protect your privacy.

    If you do not speak English well and need help from us, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

    If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone us through the National Relay Service (NRS) on the numbers listed below:

    • TTY users – phone 13 36 77 and ask for the ATO number you need
    • Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users – phone 1300 555 727 and ask for the ATO number you need
    • internet relay users – connect to the NRS on Link and ask for the ATO number you need.
      Last modified: 29 Jun 2017QC 18626