Show download pdf controls
  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common cleaner expenses for:

    Parking fees and tolls

    You can't claim a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of work. You also can't claim a deduction for tolls you incur for trips between your home and work. These are private expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips.

    Example: parking expenses you can claim

    Pam is a cleaner in a high-rise accommodation building in Melbourne. She works at several different locations each day and drives her own car between jobs. Pam pays for parking at the building and her employer does not reimburse her for this expense.

    Pam keeps a copy of each parking ticket and can claim a deduction for the costs she incurs for parking expenses.

    End of example

    See also:

    Phone, data and internet expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the phone, data and internet costs if you use of your own phone or electronic devices for work purposes.

    If your phone, data and internet use for work is incidental and you're not claiming more than $50 in total, you do not need to keep records.

    If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill where you can identify your work-related calls and data use.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer:

    • provides you with a phone for work and pays for your usage
    • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

    You can’t claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while travelling for work. This is because these are personal calls

    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 if you wear them to protect you from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment or while performing your work duties.

    To be considered protective, the equipment must provide a sufficient degree of protection against the risks of illness or injury you are exposed to in carrying out your work duties. Protective items can include gloves, safety glasses, goggles and breathing masks.

    You can also claim the costs you incur to repair, replace or clean protective items.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer:

    • supplies the protective items.
    • reimburses you for the cost you incur to buy protective items.

    Example: protective equipment required for a specific role

    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.

    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 can't claim a deduction as it is private in nature. This is because his employer supplies the items he needs in this circumstance.

    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 an amount for your work-related use.

    Self-education and study expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education and study expenses if it directly relates 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 self-education or study course:

    • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
    • only relates in a general way to your current employment
    • enables you to get employment or change employment.

    If your self-education and study expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

    You can't claim a deduction for the repayments you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

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

    While course fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

    If you have set aside a home office to do your study, you may also be able to claim home office running expenses, but not occupancy expenses. You generally can't claim a deduction for the first $250 of expenses for self-education.

    Example: working to support study rather than studying to increase skills

    Trung is employed as a part-time cleaner. This work supports him while he is studying for a Bachelor of Nursing. Once he completes his degree, Trung will be able to work as a registered nurse.

    Trung can't claim his study expenses as a deduction because he is:

    • working to support his study
    • not studying to increase his skills, knowledge or income from his work activities as a cleaner.
    End of example

    For more detailed information and record keeping, see:

    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.

    The costs you can claim includes fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

    You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

    Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course, for example, you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion.

    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: 17 Feb 2021QC 51218