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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common engineer expenses for:

    Parking fees and tolls

    You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls on work-related trips between two separate places of work or to an alternate workplace on the same day.

    You may not have to get and keep written evidence for these expenses if they're small or hard to get, for example, if you pay cash in a roadside parking meter.

    You can't claim a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of employment. This is a private expense.

    See also:

    Phone and internet expenses

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

    George uses his mobile phone for work purposes (mostly outgoing calls). He's on a set mobile phone plan of $49 each month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

    He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month by email, which includes details of the individual calls he has made. George regularly prints his monthly phone accounts and highlights his work-related calls. He also makes notes on the itemised account about who he has called.

    At the end of the income year, George works out that 57% of his call costs are work-related. Because he worked for 46 weeks of that year, George calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    • 10.6 months × $49 × 0.57 = $296
    End of example


    Example: work and private use

    Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and manage her appointments. Sylvette uses her computer and the internet for work and private purposes.

    Sylvette's internet use diary showed 40% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 60% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

    • $1,200 × 40% = $480 as work-related internet use.
    End of example

    See also:

    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 an engineer 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 – for example, training in a new product for bridge development.

    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.

    For example, you can’t claim your Degree in Mechanical Engineering if you are working as an engineering consultant.

    Self-education expenses include fees, travel expenses (for example, attending a conference 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.

    Example: self-education related to income-earning activities

    Doug is studying engineering while doing administrative work for a mining company. He is offered a trainee engineering position with the mining company on an understanding that he will continue his studies. Doug can't claim his study expenses while employed as an administrator, but he can claim his study expenses while employed as a trainee engineer.

    End of example

    See also:

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim for the cost of seminars and conferences that relate to your work as an engineer.

    Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of sunglasses if you wear them to reduce the risk of illness or injury while working as an engineer. This includes prescription sunglasses.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of sunscreen or a sunhat if wearing it:

    • has the necessary connection with earning your employment income
    • protects you from the risk of illness or injury at work because your employment duties require you to spend prolonged periods outdoors.

    If you also wear these items for private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

    Example: claiming sunglasses

    Harold works for a small electrical company in far north Queensland. He regularly works at more than one location each day and drives his employer's truck when travelling from job to job. He wears sunglasses for protection against the glare of the sun while driving the truck. He also needs to wear glasses while driving, for his short-sightedness.

    He buys a pair of prescription sunglasses which counter the glare during day driving. He also buys a pair of untinted prescription glasses for night driving.

    Harold can claim a deduction for the prescription sunglasses, but not for the untinted prescription glasses.

    End of example

    See also:

    For more engineer expenses, see:

      Last modified: 16 Oct 2019QC 22571