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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common cleaner expenses for:

    Car expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for normal trips between your home and work. These are private expenses, even if you:

    • live a long way from your usual workplace
    • have to work outside normal business hours (for example, weekend or early morning shifts).

    In limited circumstances, you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work or where you had shifting places of employment.

    To be able to claim a deduction for the cost of trips between home and work while carrying bulky tools or equipment, all the following conditions must be met:

    • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties
    • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that
      • because of the size and weight, they are awkward to transport, and
      • can only be transported conveniently using a motor vehicle
    • there is no secure storage for such items at the workplace.

    It will not be sufficient if you transport the tools or equipment merely as a matter of choice. For example, if your employer provides reasonably secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

    You are considered to have shifting places of work where you have no fixed place of work and you continually travel from one work site to another.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of using a car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase arrangement) when you drive:

    • between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from a cleaning job to your second job as a call centre operator
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from the cleaning supply depot to a client's home.

    You can't claim car expenses for a car you use under a salary sacrifice or novated lease arrangement. This is because it's usually your employer leasing the car from the financing company and making it available for your use. You can however claim additional work-related expenses you incur that are associated with your work use of the car such as parking and tolls.

    To claim a deduction, you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the logbook method or the cents per kilometre method to work out your deduction.

    If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to help you work out the percentage of work-related use along with written evidence of your car expenses.

    If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to be able to show how you work out your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

    To claim a deduction in your tax return, include the amount of your claim at ‘Work-related car expenses’. The Work-related car expenses calculator can help you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction.

    You can’t use the cents per kilometre or logbook methods to work out your claim for a:

    • motorcycle
    • vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more (such as a ute)
    • vehicle that can transport nine passengers or more (such as a people mover).

    For these vehicles, you can claim the actual expenses you incur for your work-related travel. This includes costs such as fuel, oil, insurance and loan interest along with the decline in value of the vehicle. You must keep receipts for all your expenses and records to show your work-related use of the vehicle. The easiest way to do this is to keep a logbook or documents that provide similar details to a logbook.

    To claim a deduction for actual expenses you incur for a vehicle not defined as a car, include the amount at ‘Work-related travel expenses’.

    Example: private travel to work

    Tim works as a night cleaner at his local cinema. All the cleaning products and equipment are supplied by the cinema. Tim doesn't need to take these with him to work. Tim drives his car to and from work.

    Tim can't claim a deduction for his car expenses for the cost of these trips.

    End of example

     

    Example: transporting bulky equipment for work purposes

    Marlin is a domestic house cleaner. Marlin drives his own car to each job. He is also required to supply a vacuum, mop, bucket, broom and cleaning solutions. There is no secure storage for Marlin to store his equipment at an office.

    He travels from home to the office each day to find out which homes he will be cleaning and then on to the various job locations.

    Marlin can claim a deduction for his car expenses when travelling between home and his workplaces. Marlin can claim because he transports bulky cleaning equipment by car to the different workplaces and there is no secure area to store the items at his workplace.

    Marlin keeps a record of his car travel using the logbook method. He uses the myDeductions tool in the ATO app to create a digital logbook and record the kilometres travelled between each location.

    End of example

     

    Example: shifting places of employment

    Hyun, an employee office cleaner, works at several different locations each day. He drives his own car directly from home to his first job.

    Hyun can claim a deduction for his car expenses when travelling between home and his workplaces because he has shifting places of employment.

    End of example

    For more detailed information, see:

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of child care (including school holidays and before and after school care) when you're working. It’s a private expense, and the expenses have no direct connection to earning your income.

    Cleaning products

    You can’t claim a deduction where your employer provides the cleaning products or reimburses you for the expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of cleaning products you buy solely for earning your income as an employee cleaner.

    You can't claim cleaning or sanitary products you buy for your personal use – for example, hand sanitiser.

    See also:

    Clothing and uniforms (including footwear)

    With a few exceptions, clothing is a private expense. You can't claim conventional clothing (including footwear) as a work-related expense, even if your employer requires you to wear it and you only wear these items of clothing at work.

    'Conventional clothing' is everyday clothing worn by people regardless of their occupation – for example, jeans, exercise pants and t-shirts.

    You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's in one of the following categories:

    • protective clothing
    • occupation specific clothing
    • a compulsory uniform, that your employer strictly and consistently enforces you wear by workplace agreement or policy and distinctly identifies either
      • you as an employee working for a particular employer
      • the products or services your employer provides
    • a non-compulsory uniform that your employer listed on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing with AusIndustry.

    Protective clothing you wear to protect yourself from specific risks of injury or illness at work. The clothing must have protective features or functions (for example, cleaning aprons, non-slip shoes or smocks worn to stop you coming into contact with harmful substance). Conventional clothes you wear at work are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work. This includes jeans, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, closed shoes.

    Occupation specific clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person associated with a particular profession, trade or occupation (for example a judge's robes or a chef's chequered pants). Items traditionally worn in a profession are not occupation-specific where the clothing is worn by multiple professions.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer buys, repairs or replaces your clothing.

    Example: conventional clothing worn with a compulsory uniform

    Mike is a cleaner at the local primary school. He has to buy and wear shirts with the cleaning company's logo on it. The employee guidelines include a requirement to wear black pants and closed shoes.

    Mike can claim a deduction for the cost of the shirts as they're:

    • distinctive items with the employer's logo
    • compulsory for him to wear at work.

    However, he can't claim the cost of buying his black pants or shoes as they're items of a conventional nature. Even though his employer requires him to wear a specific colour, they aren't distinctive enough to make them part of his uniform and are still conventional clothes.

    End of example

     

    Example: protective clothing

    Ryan works on residential building sites as a construction cleaner. He wears cotton pants and cotton shirt to work every day. He wears them as they are comfortable to work in and, though they aren't very durable, they provide some protection.

    Ryan wears them at work and never in his private time. He cannot claim a deduction for the expense of buying them, because the clothing only provides a small amount of protection from injury and is not a work uniform.

    After a couple of weeks, Ryan notices his shirt and pants are getting ripped and exposing his body to potential harm when carrying sharp building material to the bin. Ryan decides to start wearing thick rubber gloves, a face mask and goggles to protect himself as well as heavy-duty abrasion-resistant work trousers.

    Ryan can claim a deduction for these expenses as they are protecting him from specific risks of injury at work and have protective features and functions.

    End of example

    See also:

    Driver's licence

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost to get or renew your driver's licence, even if you must have it as a condition of employment. This is a private expense.

    Fines and penalties

    You can't claim a deduction for any fines you get when you travel to work or during work. Fines may include parking and speeding fines or penalties.

    First aid courses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you are both:

    • a designated first aid person
    • need to complete a first aid training course to assist in emergency work situations.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for the cost of the course.

    For more cleaner expenses, see:

      Last modified: 17 Feb 2021QC 51218