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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common cleaner expenses for:

    Phone and internet expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the phone and internet costs associated with your 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.

    Example: calculating phone expenses

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

    He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month that includes details of his individual calls.

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

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

    Sebastian calculates his calls for work purposes as follows:

    • Total work calls ÷ Total number of calls = Work use percentage for calls 30 ÷ 300 = 10%)
    • Sebastian can claim 10% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes ($49 × 0.10 = $4.90)

    Since Sebastian 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

    Protective items

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items such as gloves, safety glasses, 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: safety glasses, face mask and heavy duty gloves

    Will works as a cleaner at an airport. When cleaning the restrooms he is required to wear safety glasses, a face mask and heavy duty gloves to protect himself from germs and the cleaning chemicals he uses. If he doesn't wear them, he is at risk of injury or illness.

    Will's employer doesn't provide these items to their employees.

    There is connection between the expenses Will incurs on the safety items and the protection the items provide for him during his employment. He can therefore claim a deduction for the cost of the safety glasses, face mask and heavy duty gloves.

    If Will's employer supplies the protective items and Will makes a personal choice to buy his own items of a higher quality, he would not be able to claim a deduction for the expense as it is private in nature. This is because in this circumstance the items are supplied by the employer.

    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 cleaner 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.

    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 (VSL)
    • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
    • Student Start-up Loan (SSL)
    • Trade Support Loan (TSL) Program

    You may be able to claim a deduction for course or tuition fees where the self-education expenses are directly related to your current employment as a cleaner.

    See also:

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a cleaner.

    Example: work-related workshop

    Gary, a cleaner, attends a work-related workshop on effective systems for keeping homes clean and healthy costing $650. Gary pays for the cost of the workshop and is not reimbursed by his employer.

    As the workshop is work-related, Gary can deduct the total cost of the workshop.

    Gary gets a receipt for the workshop when he pays. He takes a photo of the receipt and uploads the photo to the myDeductions tool in the ATO app. Gary knows this information will be available to upload to his tax return at the end of the financial year.

    End of example

    For more cleaner expenses, see:

      Last modified: 19 Dec 2019QC 51218