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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.

    See also:

    Phone and internet expenses

    You can claim the portion of the phone and internet costs associated with the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.

    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. Daniel calculates his calls for work purposes as follows:

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

    30 ÷ 300 = 10%

    Daniel can claim 10% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes:

    $49 x 0.10 = $4.90

    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 × $4.90 = $51.94

    End of example


    Example: work and private use

    Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and contracts and to manage her online ordering of materials for work. Sylvette uses her computer and the internet for work and private purposes.

    Sylvette's internet use diary showed 30% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 70% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

    $1,200 × 0.30 = $360 as work-related internet use.

    End of example

    See also:

    Protective items

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items such as gloves, safety glasses, helmets, goggles and breathing masks.

    To be considered protective, the item must provide a sufficient degree of protection against the risks of illness or injury you are exposed to in carrying out your work duties.

    You can't claim a deduction if the protective item is supplied by your employer or another person.

    Example: helmet and safety visor

    Winnie works as a concreter on a construction site. She is required to wear a helmet, safety glasses, breathing mask and safety visor on site. If she doesn't wear them she is at risk of being injured.

    There is a connection between the need for these protective items and Winnie's employment duties.

    The protective items are provided by Winnie's employer and if she was to buy her own item her employer would reimburse her for these costs. Winnie can't claim a deduction for the helmet, safety glasses, breathing mask and safety visor as she doesn't incur any costs in relation to these items.

    End of example

    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 and study expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education and study 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 lecture 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.

    Self-education expenses are broken into five categories. Some of Danh’s self-education expenses fall under in to a category that requires him to reduce his claim by $250.

    Danh calculates his claim for self-education expenses as follows:

    Deductible self-education expenses − reduction amount = total claim amount

    $1,650 − $250 = $1,400

    Danh can claim a deduction of $1,400 for his self-education expenses.

    End of example

    See also:

    Self-education and study and training support loans

    You can't claim the repayment of loans you receive to help pay for your self-education or study expenses. This includes:

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

    You may be able to claim a deduction for course or tuition fees if the self-education expenses are directly related to your current employment as an employee in the building and construction industry.

    See also:

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work in the building and construction industry, such as a first aid course or work health and safety seminar.

    Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen

    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 as a construction supervisor overseeing a team of construction workers on a large-scale residential development. He is required to be outside in the yard directing staff and ensuring everything is running smoothly. He wears sunglasses, a helmet with built in sun protection and sunscreen for protection against the sun while in the yard supervising staff constructing the building. He also needs to wear prescription glasses while driving as he is short-sighted.

    The helmet with sun protection and sunscreen are provided to all staff by Harold's employer. He buys a pair of sunglasses that counter the glare during day. He also buys a pair of untinted prescription glasses for night driving.

    Harold can claim a deduction for the sunglasses, but not for the untinted prescription glasses or the protective items provided by the employer.

    End of example

    See also:

    For more building and construction industry employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 01 May 2020QC 24373