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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common apprentice and trainee expenses for:

    Parking fees and tolls

    You can't claim a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of work. You also can't claim a deduction for tolls you incur for trips between your home and work. These are private expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur when you use your car for work-related purposes.

    Example: parking fees deductible

    Karlyn is a trainee lawyer. She has to rush some legal documents to the court before it closes for the day. Karlyn uses her car to drive from the office to the court. She parks directly in front of the court and pays a fee for parking which her employer does not reimburse.

    Karlyn can claim the cost of the car parking as a deduction because Karlyn's travel from the office to the court is work-related.

    End of example

     

    Example: tolls and parking not deductible

    Carissa is a trainee architect and works in the city centre. There is no parking for employees in her building, so Carissa pays for car parking nearby.

    When Carissa is running late for work she takes a quicker route to work and incurs a toll.

    Carissa can't claim a deduction for the cost of:

    • parking near her regular place of work
    • the occasional tolls that she incurs when driving between her home and her regular place of work.
    End of example

    Phone, data and internet expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur when you use your phone, data and internet for work-related purposes.

    You can't claim a separate deduction for your work-related phone, data and internet expenses if:

    • you incur the expenses while you are working from home
    • you use the shortcut method to calculate your working from home expenses.

    If your phone, data and internet use for work is incidental and you're not claiming more than $50 in total, you do not need to keep records.

    If you claim more than $50 and you use your phone, data or internet for work-related and private purposes, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill for a representative four-week period where you can identify your work-related calls and data use.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer:

    • provides you with a phone for work and pays for the usage
    • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

    You can't claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while you're travelling for work. This is because they are personal calls.

    Example: mobile phone and data used for work and private purposes

    Roz is a trainee real estate agent and uses her phone for work. She has a mobile phone plan that costs $60 per month which includes unlimited calls and 4 GB of data. She receives a bill which itemises all her phone calls and data usage.

    Over the 4 week representative period, Roz made 428 phone calls of which she identifies 336 as being for work purposes. Roz decides to work out her work use percentage on the volume of phone calls.

    Total work calls ÷ Total number of calls = Work use percentage for calls

    336 ÷ 428 = 80%

    Roz used 3 GB of her allocated data and from her bill she estimates that 2.1 GB was related to her work. She does this by comparing her usage on the bill with her work diary.

    Total work data use ÷ Total data use = Work use percentage for data

    2.1 ÷ 3 = 70%

    Roz takes the average of these to work out her work use percentage.

    [Work use percentage for calls + Work use percentage for data] ÷ 2 = Overall work use percentage

    [80% + 70%] ÷ 2 = 75%

    Roz can claim 75% of the total bill of $60 for each month she works as a trainee real estate agent for the same employer.

    Total bill for each month × Overall work use percentage = Monthly amount to be claimed

    $60 × 75% = $45

    As Roz started on 1 April, she claims for the last three months of the income year.

    Monthly claim amount × Number of months = Total claim amount

    $45 × 3 = $135

    Roz keeps a record of her bill that shows how she worked out the work-related use of her phone.

    End of example

    Protective items

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items if you wear them to protect yourself from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment or while performing your work duties.

    To be considered protective, the equipment must provide a sufficient degree of protection against the risks of illness or injury you are exposed to in carrying out your work duties. Protective items can include safety glasses, helmets, sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen and breathing masks.

    For example, an apprentice glazier can claim a deduction for the cost of steel-capped boots, gloves and safety glasses.

    If during the COVID-19 pandemic your specific employment duties require you to have physical contact or be in close proximity to customers or clients while carrying out your duties or you are involved in cleaning premises, you can claim a deduction for expenditure on protective items. These could include items like face masks, hand sanitiser and gloves.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer:

    • supplies the protective items
    • reimburses you for the cost you incur to buy protective items.

    Example: protective items deductible

    Wiremu is a builders' apprentice and works on building sites. His employer requires him to wear a helmet and safety visor on site. If he doesn't wear them, he is at risk of injury.

    There is connection between the expense he incurs on the helmet and safety visor and the protection the items provide for him while carrying out his duties of employment.

    Wiremu can claim a deduction for the cost of the helmet and safety visor.

    End of example

    Self-education and study expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education and study expenses if it directly relates to your employment as an apprentice or trainee and it:

    • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
    • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment, such as your apprenticeship course.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of travel from your home to your place of education and back, or your workplace to your place of education and back. You must keep records of your travel expenses to claim a deduction.

    As an apprentice or trainee, you will generally have to undertake some form of formally recognised training or study. For example, a TAFE, certificate or trade school course, along with on the job training. Generally, the cost of such training is either reimbursed by your employer or paid directly to the training organisation by your employer.

    You also can't claim a deduction if your employer pays your apprenticeship or traineeship course fees outright or reimburses you upon completion of your course. However, if you do incur the cost of any formal training while you are undertaking your apprenticeship or traineeship, you can claim a deduction for it.

    You can't claim a deduction if the self-education or study course:

    • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
    • only relates in a general way to your current employment
    • enables you to get employment or change employment.

    If your self-education and study expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

    You generally can't claim a deduction for the first $250 of expenses for self-education.

    You can't claim a deduction for the repayments you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

    • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
    • VET Student Loans (VETSL)
    • Trade Support Loan Program (TSL)
    • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
    • Student Start-up Loan (SSL)

    While course fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

    Example: costs of study deductible and not deductible

    Connor is an apprentice hairdresser. Under the terms of his employment, he works at the salon 4 days per week receiving on the job training and spends one day per week doing a Certificate 3 in Hairdressing.

    Connor's employer pays the fees for the Certificate 3 to the course provider directly. However, his employer does not pay for or reimburse Connor the cost of his textbooks or stationery that he requires for the course.

    The course Connor is taking improves the knowledge and skills he requires to do his job. However, as Connor's employer pays the course fees directly to the course provider, Connor can't claim a deduction for them.

    Connor can claim a deduction for the cost of his textbooks and for the stationery he requires for the course if he keeps written evidence for the expenses. Connor can also claim a deduction for the cost of travelling between his home and the campus where he is doing the Certificate 3 course.

    End of example

     

    Example: costs of study deductible

    Barry a trainee accountant. He is studying commerce part-time at university. His employer does not pay or reimburse him for any of the course costs.

    Barry can claim a deduction for the costs associated with the course because the course enables Barry to maintain or increase the specific knowledge required in his current position and to carry out his duties more effectively.

    End of example

    Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen

    You can claim a deduction for the work-related use of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if you:

    • must spend prolonged periods working outdoors
    • use these items to protect yourself from the real and likely risk of illness or injury while at work.

    This includes prescription sunglasses and anti-glare glasses.

    You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the products if you also wear them for private purposes.

    Example: sunglasses, hat and sunscreen deductible

    Omar is a trainee landscaper. He spends the majority of his working days outdoors. When he is working outdoors, Omar applies sunscreen and wears a hat and sunglasses.

    Omar can claim a deduction for the cost of the sunscreen, hat and sunglasses he uses when working prolonged periods outdoors. This is because the sunscreen, hat and sunglasses protect him from the risks associated with working outdoors.

    If Omar also uses these items for private purposes, he will have to apportion the expenses. He can only claim the work-related portion of his expenses as a deduction.

    End of example

    For more apprentice and trainee expenses, see

      Last modified: 03 Feb 2022QC 67770