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  • Common expenses G-O

    Details on common building and construction employees expenses for

    Insurance of tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of insuring your tools and equipment to the extent that you use them for work.

    Laundry and maintenance

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of washing, drying and ironing deductible clothing. This also includes laundromat and dry cleaning expenses.

    See also:

    Licences, permits and cards

    You can't claim a deduction for a driver licence. This is a private expense, even if you must have it as a condition of employment.

    You can claim a deduction for any renewal fees for licences, regulatory permits, certificates, or 'cards' that relate to your work. You can't claim the cost of getting your initial licence or certificate.

    Meal and snack expenses

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

    You can't claim your meals or expenses incidental to your travel if you weren't required to travel for work, even if you received a travel allowance. For example, you can't claim a deduction for food and drink for mandatory long rest breaks.

    You can't claim more than one meal of each type in a 24-hour period, even though you may eat your meals at unconventional times. For example, you can't claim for two dinners in one day.

    You may be able to claim a deduction for meals when you travel for work – see Building and construction industries’ Travel expenses.

    You may be able to claim a deduction for meals when you work overtime – see Building and construction industry's Overtime meal expenses.

    Overtime meal expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime, if you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial award or enterprise agreement.

    You can't claim a deduction if your overtime meal allowance is rolled into your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your payment summary or income statement.

    You are generally required to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction for overtime meal expenses. However, each year we set a reasonable amount you can claim for overtime meal expenses without written evidence. If you spent and are claiming:

    • 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 calculated your claim.

    Example: overtime meal expenses

    Derek was employed for a major job involving a fit-out of a shopping centre. He was required to work overtime for 10 days. Derek was paid an overtime meal allowance of $30.60 for each night he worked overtime equivalent to the reasonable rate set by us.

    Derek was happy to spend $14.00 each time on a takeaway meal. At the end of the income year his payment summary showed he received $306 in allowances which represented the 10 overtime days × $30.60.

    In his tax return, Derek correctly showed the $306 allowance and claimed deductions of $14.00 × 10 = $140. This is the amount he had actually spent on his overtime meals.

    The difference of $166 ($306 − $140) will be included as taxable income on Derek’s tax assessment.

    End of example

    See also:

    For more building and construction industry employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 10 Apr 2019QC 24373