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  • Common expenses P-S

    Details on common building and construction employees expenses for

    Parking fees and tolls

    You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls on work-related trips between two separate places of work.

    You may not have to get and keep written evidence for these expenses if they're small or hard to get, for example, if you pay cash in a roadside parking meter.

    You can't get a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of employment. This is a private expense.

    Phone and internet expenses

    You can claim the work-related portion of your phone and internet costs if your employer requires you to use your own phone or electronic device.

    You need to keep records to show your work use if you claim more than $50 on phone and internet expenses.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer provides you with a phone for work and pays for the usage, or if your employer reimburses you for the costs.

    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're not work-related calls.

    Example: working out phone expenses

    Daniel uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

    Daniel receives an itemised bill from his phone provider each month.

    At least once a year, Daniel prints out his bill and highlights the work-related calls he made. He makes notes on his bill for the first month about who he is calling for work – for example, his manager and his clients.

    Out of the 300 calls he made in a four-week period, Daniel works out 30 (10%) of the calls are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

    Since Daniel was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    • 10.6 months × $49 × 10% = $52
    End of example


    Example: work and private use

    Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and manage her appointments. Sylvette uses her computer and the internet for work and private purposes.

    Sylvette's internet use diary showed 40% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 60% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

    • $1,200 × 40% = $480 as work-related internet use.
    End of example

    See also:

    Repairs to tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes, you can only claim the work-related portion.

    Self-education expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if it's directly related to your current employment as a building and construction employee 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.

    You can't claim a deduction if the education is only related in a general way or designed to:

    • enable you to get employment
    • obtain new employment
    • open up a new income-earning activity.

    Self-education expenses include fees, travel expenses (for example, attending a conference interstate), transport costs, books and equipment. You usually have to reduce your self-education expenses by $250 – that is, the first $250 of expenses for self-education aren't deductible.

    Example: self-education expenses

    Francesco is an apprentice travelling a long distance to a technical college for his apprenticeship course on two consecutive days each fortnight. He's allowed a deduction for the cost of travel to and from his place of education, overnight accommodation, meals and incidentals.

    End of example


    Example: reducing your self-education claim

    Danh incurs self-education expenses totalling $1,650 in connection with his apprenticeship course at a technical college. Some of Danh’s self-education expenses fall under the category that requires Danh to reduce his claim by $250. Therefore he reduces his claim by $250 and is allowed a deduction for $1,400.

    End of example


    Example: self-education expenses that can't be claimed

    David is studying carpentry while working as a timber salesperson. He is offered a new position supervising the assembly of timber frames on an understanding that he'll continue his studies. David can't claim deductions for his study expenses while employed as a salesperson. He can claim deductions for his study expenses while employed as a framing supervisor.

    End of example

    See also:

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim for the cost of seminars and conferences that relate to your work in the building and construction industry.

    Sunglasses, glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses

    You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses. These are private expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of sunglasses or anti-glare glasses if you wear them to reduce the risk of illness or injury while working on a building and construction site. This includes prescription sunglasses.

    If you also wear them for private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

    Example: claiming sunglasses

    Harold works for a small electrical company in far north Queensland. He regularly works at more than one location each day and drives his employer's truck when travelling from job to job. He wears sunglasses for protection against the glare of the sun while driving the truck. He also needs to wear glasses while driving, for his short-sightedness.

    He buys a pair of prescription sunglasses which counter the glare during day driving. He also buys a pair of untinted prescription glasses for night driving.

    Harold can claim a deduction for the prescription sunglasses, but not for the untinted prescription glasses.

    End of example

    See also:

    For more building and construction industry employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 10 Apr 2019QC 24373