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  • Common expenses L–O

    Details on claiming common apprentice and trainee expenses for:

    Licences, permits and cards

    You can't claim the cost of getting your initial licence, regulatory permit, cards or certificates in order to get a job.

    You can claim a deduction for the additional costs you incur to get or renew your licence, regulatory permit, card or certificate to continue to perform your work duties. For example, if you need to have a general construction induction card (White card), to get your job, you can’t claim the initial cost to get it, however you can claim the cost to renew it during the period you are working.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost to get or renew your driver's licence, even if you must have it as a condition of employment.

    Meal and snack expenses

    You can't claim for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume during your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. These are private expenses.

    Example: meal expenses

    Scarlett is an apprentice carpenter. Occasionally, Scarlett has to travel to work on a site that is located some distance from where she is usually based. When Scarlett is away for 10 hours or more, but is not required to stay overnight near the site, she is paid an allowance to cover her meal expenses.

    Even though Scarlett is paid an allowance, which must be included in her tax return as income, she can't claim a deduction for the cost of any meals or snacks she buys. The expenses are private in nature.

    Scarlett also can't claim a deduction for the cost of the coffee and smoothie mugs she buys to use while at work as these are private in nature.

    End of example

    Overtime meal expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime, if all of the following apply:

    • you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement
    • the allowance is on your income statement as a separate allowance
    • you include the allowance in your tax return as income.

    You can't claim a deduction if the allowance is part of your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your income statement.

    You generally need to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction. However, each year we set an amount you can claim for overtime meal expenses without receipts. This is called the 'reasonable amount'. If you receive an overtime meal allowance, are claiming a deduction and spent:

    • up to the reasonable amount, you don't have to get and keep receipts
    • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for all your expenses.

    In all cases, you need to be able to show:

    • you spent the money
    • how you worked out your claim.

    Example: overtime meal

    Moana is an apprentice hairdresser. She completes her eight-hour shift and is asked to work for an additional three hours of overtime. She is given a meal break and paid a meal allowance of $20 under her enterprise bargaining agreement which is shown separately on her income statement at the end of the income year. Moana buys and eats a meal costing her $21 during her overtime.

    Moana can claim a deduction for $21 for her overtime meal expense because:

    • she buys and eats a meal on overtime,
    • she receives an overtime meal allowance under an industrial agreement
    • the overtime meal allowance she receives is shown separately on her income statement
    • she includes the overtime meal allowance in her tax return as income.
    End of example

     

    Example: meal consumed after overtime

    Michael is an apprentice bricklayer. His employer asks him to work 3 hours overtime after finishing his normal shift. He is given a meal break and paid a meal allowance of $20 under his enterprise agreement. Michael takes his break but doesn't buy any food. After his overtime shift finishes, he buys some food on the way home.

    Even though Michael is paid an overtime meal allowance under an industrial agreement, he can't claim a deduction for the cost of the food because he did not buy and eat a meal while he worked overtime.

    End of example

    For more apprentice and trainee expenses, see

      Last modified: 03 Feb 2022QC 67770