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  • Other expenses

    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, see Capital allowances.

    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).

    Low-value pool

    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 a low-value pool, see item D6 - Low-value pool deduction in Individual tax return instructions and make your claim at item D6 on your tax return.

    Equipment for which you may be able to claim a capital allowance includes:

    • calculators and electronic organisers
    • computers and computer software
    • answering machines, telephones, facsimile machines, mobile phones, pagers and other telecommunications equipment
    • a professional library
    • dedicated stopwatches (but not ordinary wristwatches).

    See also:

    Child care

    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.

    Drivers licence

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of getting or renewing your drivers licence because it is a private expense.

    Excursions, school trips and camps

    You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur when you take students on excursions, educational and sporting trips and camps if these trips have an educational benefit and are related to the curriculum or extracurricular activities of the school. For example, a science teacher accompanying a group of biology students on a camp to a national park to study the ecology of the rainforest can claim a deduction for entrance fees and travel costs.

    Fares

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of using public transport for work travel – for example, from your school to a conference venue.

    Fines

    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.

    Fitness expenses

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of fitness expenses – these are private expenses, even for a physical education teacher.

    Glasses and contact lenses

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of buying prescription glasses or contact lenses because it is a private expense relating to a personal medical condition. You may claim the cost of protective sunglasses if you are required to work outdoors and, as a result, are exposed to risk of eye damage from sunlight – see Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens.

    Grooming including hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products

    You cannot claim a deduction for these items because they are private expenses.

    Hiring equipment

    You can claim the costs of hiring equipment used for work. However, if the equipment is also used for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the hire cost.

    Interest costs

    You can claim the cost of interest on money borrowed to purchase work-related equipment. However, if the equipment was also used for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the interest.

    Meals

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of meals eaten during a normal working day because 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

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of newspapers because it is a private expense.

    Overtime meals

    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.

    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 (of Taxation) 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.

    See also:

    • TD 2015/14 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2015–16 income year?
    • TR 2004/6 Income tax: substantiation exception for reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expenses

    Professional library

    For information about claiming deductions for the decline in value of a professional library, see Capital allowances.

    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.

    Social functions

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of attending staff dinners or other social functions.

    Student expenses

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of:

    • items you supplied to students for their own individual needs
    • gifts you purchased for students
    • meeting students’ personal expenses – for example, paying for lunch.

    These costs are considered to be private expenses.

    Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if the nature of your work requires you to work in the sun for all or part of the day and you use these items to protect yourself from the sun while at work – for example, if you are a school sporting coach for track and field events, in addition to your teaching duties.

    Teaching aids

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of teaching aids used for work.

    Technical or professional publications

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of journals, periodicals and magazines that have a content specifically related to your employment as a teacher.

    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 because it is a capital expense.

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of an unlisted telephone number (silent number) because 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.

    Repairs

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of repairing tools and equipment for work. However, 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
    • 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.

    Watches, including dedicated stopwatches

    For information about claiming deductions for the decline in value of dedicated stopwatches used for work, see Capital allowances.

    You can claim the costs of repairing a dedicated stopwatch, but not an ordinary wristwatch, even if it is waterproof.

    See also:

    • Publications  
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    Other services

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

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    • TTY users – phone 13 36 77. For ATO 1800 free call numbers, phone 1800 555 677.
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      Last modified: 05 Oct 2016QC 22569