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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, drying and ironing clothing you wear at work, if it's:

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

    This also includes laundromat and dry cleaning expenses.

    If your laundry claim 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.

    See also:

    Licences, permits and cards

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

    You can claim a deduction for any renewal fees for licences, regulatory permits, certificates, or 'cards' that relate to your work. You can't claim the cost of getting your initial licence or certificate.

    Meal and snack expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume during your normal working day. These are private expenses.

    Even if you receive an allowance for them you can't claim meals or incidental expenses unless, you were required to travel and stay away from your home overnight travel in the course of performing your employment.

    You can't claim more than one meal of each type in a 24-hour period, even though you may eat your meals at unconventional times. For example, you can't claim for two dinners in one day.

    You may be able to claim a deduction for meals when you travel for work – see engineers’ Travel expenses.

    You may be able to claim a deduction for meals when you work overtime – see engineers' Overtime meal expenses.

    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 payment summary or income statement.

    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 spent and are claiming:

    • 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 2018/11 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2018–19 income year?

    For more engineer expenses, see:

      Last modified: 16 Oct 2019QC 22571