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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common cleaner expenses for:

    Car expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the normal trips between your home and work, even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours (for example, weekend or early morning shifts). These are private expenses.

    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. You can claim a deduction for the cost of these trips if all of the following conditions are met:

    • the tools or equipment you carry are essential for the performance of your employment duties
    • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning they are of such a large size or weight that transportation by car or private vehicle is the only realistic option
    • there is no secure area for storing such items at your 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 can claim a deduction for the cost of using a your car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase arrangement) when you're travelling for work and 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 supplies depot to a client's home.

    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. If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to determine the percentage of work-related use along with evidence of your car expenses. If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to provide a calculation of your work-related kilometres and be able to demonstrate that those kilometres were work-related.

    The Work-related car expenses calculator helps calculate the amount you can claim as a deduction for car expenses.

    If you own a motorcycle, or a vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or nine passengers or more you can deduct the actual expenses.

    Example: private travel to work

    Tim works as a night cleaner at his local cinema. He is often required to work late into the night and the only available public transport by bus doesn't operate past 7pm, so Tim drives to and from work.

    Tim's expense is incurred travelling between home and work, therefore his it is private in nature. Tim can't claim a deduction for his car expenses for the cost of these trips.

    End of example


    Example: transporting bulky equipment

    Marlin is employed as a domestic house cleaner. He often works at several locations each day. Marlin drives his own car to get 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 the 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. His journeys are not considered ordinary home to work travel because he transports his cleaning equipment by car to the different workplaces.

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

    End of example

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for child care when you're working. It's a private expense.

    Clothing expenses (including footwear)

    You can claim a deduction for the cost you incur when you buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's:

    • protective clothing and footwear that provides a sufficient degree of protection against the risk of injury or illness posed by the activities you undertake to earn your income
    • occupation specific (and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing)
    • a compulsory uniform that identifies you as an employee of an organisation with a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while you're at work
    • a non-compulsory uniform, if your employer has registered the design with AusIndustry.

    Clothing in a specific colour or brand isn't enough to classify clothing as a uniform. For example, a shirt with the corporate logo on it that your employer strictly requires you to wear when you work is a compulsory uniform, so you can claim a deduction for buying and repairing it.

    You can claim clothing and footwear that you wear to protect yourself from the risk of illness or injury posed by your income-earning activities or the environment in which you carry them out. To be considered protective, the items must provide a sufficient degree of protection against that risk – for example, cleaning aprons or smocks worn to stop you coming into contact with harmful substances.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or repairing plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it. You can't claim for:

    • heavy duty conventional clothing such as jeans or black trousers
    • running shoes or casual shoes.

    These are private expenses.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer buys or mends your clothing and footwear.

    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. However, the guidelines don't specify any other qualities of these items.

    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

    See also:

    Driver's licence

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

    For more cleaner expenses, see:

      Last modified: 19 Dec 2019QC 51218