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  • Common expenses G–O

    Details on common building and construction employees expenses for:

    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 anti-glare glasses, or anti-glare contact lenses if you wear them to reduce the risk of illness or injury while working as a building and construction industry employee.

    See also:

    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 clothing you wear at work if it's:

    • protective
    • occupation specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing
    • a uniform either non-compulsory and registered with AusIndustry or compulsory.

    This also includes laundromat and dry cleaning expenses.

    If your laundry claim (excluding dry cleaning expenses) is $150 or less, you don't need to keep records but you will still need to be able to explain how you calculated your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.

    Example: laundry expenses

    Laura receives three company shirts with logos embroidered on them from her employer. She washes and dries her shirts as their own load of washing twice a week. Laura works 48 weeks during the year. Her claim of $96 for laundry expenses is worked out as follows:

    Number of claimable laundry loads per week × Number of weeks = Total number of claimable laundry loads

    3 × 48 = 144

    Total number of claimable laundry loads × Reasonable cost per load = Total claim amount

    144 × $1 = $144

    As her total claim for laundry expenses is under $150 ($144) Laura isn't required to have and provide written evidence of her laundry expenses. Although she isn't required to substantiate her claim for laundry, if asked, she will still be required to explain how she calculated her claim.

    End of example

    See also:

    Licences, permits and cards

    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 to obtain a job, even if you must have it as a condition of employment.

    Example: getting and renewing a builders licence

    Marcus completes his training as a builder and is looking for a job in the industry. All the available jobs require Marcus to have at least two years' experience and a current builders licence.

    Marcus follows the process in his home state for applying for his builders licence. He pays the licencing fee of $388.80.

    Marcus can't claim a deduction for the cost of his builders licence as he incurs this cost to enable him to obtain a job.

    However, if Marcus is employed as a builder when his renewal for the builders licence is due he will be able to claim a deduction for the renewal of his builder licence.

    End of example

    Meal and snack expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume in the course of your normal working hours, 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.

    See also:

    Overtime meal expenses

    If you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement, and it's included in your assessable income, you can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime.

    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 income statement or payment summary.

    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 receipts. If you received 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 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 $31.25 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 income statement showed he received $312.50 in allowances which represented the 10 overtime days × $31.25.

    In his tax return, Derek correctly showed the $312.50 allowance and claimed deductions of $14.00 × 10 = $140. This is the amount he had actually spent on his overtime meals.

    The difference of $172 ($312 − $140) will be included as taxable income on Derek’s tax assessment.

    End of example

    See also:

    • Overtime meals
    • TD 2019/11 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime amounts for the 2019–20 income year?

    For more building and construction industry employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 01 May 2020QC 24373