When you can claim a deduction

In most situations, you can claim deductions for work-related expenses as long as your claim meets the following conditions:

  • you incurred the expense in doing your job
  • the expense is not private (personal)
  • you can show you incurred the expense by producing receipts or other written evidence.

Note: If you are claiming a deduction for an expense that you incurred partly for work and partly for private purposes (such as mobile phone costs), you can only claim that portion of the expense that relates to your work use.


Supporting your claims

If your total claims add up to more than $300 (excluding claims for car, meal allowance, award transport payment allowance and travel allowance expenses), you must keep written evidence, such as receipts. Your written evidence must show you have incurred the full amount of your claim, not just the amount over the first $300.

If the total amount you are claiming is $300 or less, you do not need to keep receipts but you must be able to show how you worked out your claims.

Written evidence

Written evidence can be:

  • a document from the supplier of the goods or services, showing the
    • supplier's name
    • amount of the expense
    • nature of the goods or services – if this is not shown, you can write this on the document before you lodge your income tax return
    • date you incurred the expense
    • date of the document
  • a combination of documents containing this information.

If you use a combination of documents, they:

  • do not need to show the date of the document
  • must contain the date you incurred the expense.

These documents can include:

  • bank and other financial institution statements
  • credit card statements
  • BPAY® reference numbers, also called receipt or transaction numbers
  • email receipts
  • your PAYG payment summary – individual non-business, which may show amounts you can claim, such as your total union fees
  • paper or electronic copies of documents – these must be true and clear reproductions of the originals.
® Registered to BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518

We recommend:

  • when you store your written documentary evidence, you photocopy the original (receipts for items such as fuel and oil can fade particularly when exposed to heat and sunlight)
  • when you store your records electronically, you make a back-up copy if the original becomes inaccessible or unreadable (for example, where a hard drive is corrupted).

Example 1

Tony claims his car expenses through the logbook method, and does not need to keep the receipts for fuel and oil but he does need to keep receipts for repairs and maintenance. He photocopies the thermal paper receipts to protect the information. The receipts contain the required information and are a true and clear reproduction of the original. This copy would be sufficient evidence to support his claims.

End of example

Note: 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.

For depreciating assets, you must keep records for a further five years from the date of your last claim for decline in value.

    Last modified: 05 Oct 2016QC 24373