Building and construction employees – claiming work-related expenses

As a building and construction employee work out what income you should declare, and what work-related expenses you can claim a tax deduction for.

It is a simple summary of TR 95/22 Income tax: employee building workers – allowances, reimbursements, long service payments, redundancy trust payments and work-related deductions. This ruling provides information on tax deductions specifically for employee building workers.

A building and construction employee includes a:

  • building construction project manager or supervisor
  • building construction labourer
  • construction project manager
  • construction site supervisor
  • carpenter and joiner, including apprentices and trainees
  • shop fitter
  • bricklayer
  • builder
  • concreter.

You may incur work-related expenses relating to:

  • a car
  • travel
  • uniform, occupation specific or protective clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning
  • self-education
  • other items such as a phone, tools and equipment and overtime meals.

There may be other deductions you can claim that are not included in this publication. See the end of this guide for a list of helpful resources.

Note: When you sign your tax return, you are declaring that everything you have told us is true and you can support your claims with written evidence.

You are responsible for providing proof of your expenses, even if you use a registered tax agent.


Individual tax return instructions questions 1–12 and Individual tax return instructions supplement questions 13–24 deal with income. This section of the guide tells you how to include allowances, reimbursements, reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer superannuation contributions on your tax return.


If any allowance is shown as a separate amount on your payment summary, include it as income at item 2 on your tax return. You must include the whole amount of any award transport payment you received.

Remember, you cannot automatically claim a deduction just because you received an allowance. Read questions D1 to D5 in Individual tax return instructions to work out if you can claim a deduction.

You cannot claim a deduction against allowances you receive for work that might be considered unpleasant, special or dangerous, for example, wet work, height work, dirty work, follow-the-job or similar allowances.

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You cannot claim a deduction for expenses you incur if those expenses are reimbursed to you by your employer – you do not include a reimbursement on your tax return.

Reportable fringe benefits

Your employer is required to report the total grossed-up amount of certain fringe benefits exceeding $2,000 (a grossed-up taxable value of $3,921) provided to you or your relatives on your payment summary.

You do not include this amount in your total income or loss amount and you do not pay income tax or Medicare levy on it. However, the total will be used in determining whether certain surcharges apply to you, whether you can claim certain deductions, and to establish whether you are eligible for certain tax offsets and other government benefits.

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Reportable employer superannuation contributions

Your employer is required to report the amount of reportable employer superannuation contributions on your payment summary.

If your payment summary shows an amount at ‘reportable employer superannuation contributions’ and you do not salary sacrifice amounts to superannuation, then you should ask your employer to confirm that the amount of reportable employer superannuation contribution on your payment summary does not include compulsory contributions such as super guarantee or award contributions.

We will not include reportable employer superannuation contributions in your income and you will not pay income tax or Medicare levy on it. However, we use reportable employer superannuation contributions to determine your eligibility for some tax offsets, the government super co-contribution and other government benefits, and whether the Medicare levy surcharge applies to you.

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    Last modified: 05 Oct 2016QC 24373