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  • Common expenses G–O

    Details on claiming common engineer expenses for:

    Glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses

    You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses. These are private expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of anti-glare glasses if you wear them to reduce the risk of illness or injury while working as an engineer.

    See also:

    Insurance of tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of insuring your tools and equipment to the extent that you use them for work.

    Laundry and maintenance

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of washing and drying clothing you wear at work, if it's:

    • protective
    • occupation specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing
    • a uniform either non-compulsory and registered with AusIndustry or compulsory.

    This also includes laundromat and dry cleaning expenses.

    If your laundry claim (excluding dry-cleaning expenses) is $150 or less, you don't need to keep records but you will still need to be able to explain how you calculated your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.

    Example: laundry expenses uniform and conventional clothing

    Joseph is employed as an electrical engineer. His employer requires him to purchase shirts with the company logo to be worn at work. He is also required to wear plain drill work pants.

    Joseph can claim a deduction for the purchase and laundering of his work shirts as the logo makes them unique and distinctive to the organisation.

    Joseph can't to claim a deduction for the drill pants even though he only wears them to work. They are conventional in nature and don’t have a logo or other feature that is unique and distinctive to the organisation.

    Joseph works for 40 weeks of the financial year and washes his shirts twice a week in a mixed load with other clothes.

    Joseph calculates his laundry claim as follows:

    2 times per week × 40 weeks × $0.50 per load = $40.

    End of example


    Example: no deduction allowed for business attire

    Gayle is employed as a mechanical engineer. Gayle’s employer doesn't provide a uniform but requires staff to wear business attire to work. Gayle purchases suitable clothing that she only wears to work.

    Gayle can't claim a deduction for the purchase or laundering of these items as they are conventional clothes and not occupation specific, protective or a uniform.

    End of example

    See also:

    Licences, permits and cards

    You can claim a deduction for any renewal fees for licences, regulatory permits, certificates, or white cards that relate to your work.

    You can't claim the cost of getting your initial licence or certificate, even if you must have it as a condition of employment.

    Meal and snack expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume during your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. These are private expenses.

    See also:

    Overtime meal expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime, if you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement, and it's included in your assessable income.

    You can't claim a deduction if your overtime meal allowance is rolled into your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your income statement or payment summary.

    You are generally required to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction for overtime meal expenses. However, each year we set a reasonable amount you can claim for overtime meal expenses without written evidence. If you receive an overtime meal allowance, are claiming a deduction and spent:

    • up to the reasonable amount, you don't have to get and keep receipts
    • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for all your expenses.

    In all cases, you need to be able to show:

    • you spent the money
    • how you calculated your claim.

    Example: overtime meal expenses

    Ash, an aeronautical engineer, was required to work overtime for 10 days. Ash was paid an overtime meal allowance of $30.60 for each night he worked overtime equivalent to the reasonable rate set by us.

    Ash was happy to spend $14.00 each time on a takeaway meal. At the end of the income year his income statement showed he received $306 in allowances which represented the 10 overtime days × $30.60.

    In his tax return, Ash correctly showed the $306 allowance and claimed deductions of $14.00 × 10 = $140. This is the amount he had actually spent on his overtime meals.

    The difference of $166 ($306 − $140) will be included as taxable income on Ash’s tax assessment.

    End of example

    See also:

    • Overtime meals
    • TD 2019/11 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime amounts for the 2019–20 income year?

    For more engineer expenses, see:

      Last modified: 30 Apr 2020QC 22571