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  • Common expenses T–W

    Details on claiming common cleaner expenses for:

    Taxi, ride-share, public transport and car hire

    You can claim a deduction for transport costs if you travel in the course of performing your work. For example, taking a taxi from your regular workplace to another work location.

    You can’t claim a deduction for travel expenses between home and work. These are private expenses.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer reimburses you for these expenses.

    Tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment if you use them to perform your duties as a cleaner. For example, a vacuum or steam cleaner.

    You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.

    If the tool or equipment cost you $300 or less, you can claim a deduction for the full amount in the year you buy it, if:

    • you use it mainly for work purposes
    • it's not part of a set that together cost more than $300.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (that is, decline in value), if the tool or equipment:

    • cost more than $300
    • is part of a set that together cost more than $300.

    If you bought the tool or item of equipment part way through the year, you can only claim a deduction for the decline in value for the period of the income year that you own it.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of repairs to tools and equipment that you use for work purposes.

    You can’t claim a deduction for tools and equipment that your employer or a third party supplies for use.

    Example: claiming proportion of depreciation

    Marlin is employed as a domestic house cleaner. He buys a vacuum for $600 to take to clients' properties for his cleaning jobs. Marlin's employer doesn't provide the cleaning equipment to his employees.

    As Marlin owns the vacuum, he also uses the vacuum to clean his family home fortnightly.

    Marlin can claim a deduction for the cost of the vacuum. As it cost more than $300, he will need to claim a deduction for its decline in value over its effective life.

    He will also have to apportion the amount of the depreciation based on his work use as he uses the vacuum fortnightly in his own home. Marlin uses the ATO's Depreciation and capital allowances tool to easily calculate his deduction.

    End of example

    See also:

    Travel expenses

    You can claim a deduction for expenses you incur when your work requires you to both:

    • travel for work
    • sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties.

    Expenses you can claim include your accommodation, meals and expenses which are incidental to the travel (incidentals). For example, when you travel interstate to attend a work-related conference, seminar or training course.

    You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you don’t incur any expenses, because:

    • you slept in accommodation your employer provides
    • you eat meals your employer provides
    • your employer or a third party reimburses you for any costs you incur.

    Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn’t automatically mean you can claim a deduction. In all cases, you must be able to show:

    • you were away overnight
    • you have spent the money
    • the travel directly relates to earning your employment income
    • how you work out your claim.

    If you receive a travel allowance you must include it as assessable income in your tax return unless all of the following apply:

    • the travel allowance is not on your income statement or payment summary
    • the travel allowance doesn't exceed the Commissioner's reasonable amount
    • you spent the whole allowance on deductible accommodation, meal and incidental expenses, if applicable.

    The Commissioner's reasonable amount is set each year. The amount is used to determine whether an exception from keeping written evidence applies for the following expenses which are covered by a travel allowance:

    • accommodation
    • meal
    • incidentals.

    You don't need to keep written evidence such as receipts if both of the following apply:

    • you receive a travel allowance from your employer for the expenses
    • your deduction is less than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    If your deduction is for more than the Commissioner's reasonable amount you need to keep written evidence for all your expense, not just for the amount over the reasonable amount.

    Even if you're not required to keep written evidence such as receipts, you must be able to explain your claim and show you spent the amounts.

    Union and professional association fees

    You can claim a deduction for union and professional association fees you pay. You can use your income statement as evidence of the amount you pay if it's shown on there.

    See also:

    For more cleaner expenses, see:

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      Last modified: 17 Feb 2021QC 51218