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  • Common expenses H–P

    Details on claiming common fitness and sporting industry expenses for:

    Hiring tools and equipment

    You can claim the cost of hiring tools and equipment that you use for carrying out your employment duties. However, if you also use the tools and equipment you have hired for private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for your work-related use.

    Laundry and maintenance

    You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur to wash, dry and iron clothing you wear at work if it's:

    • protective (for example, a hi-vis jacket)
    • occupation specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing such as sports gear
    • a uniform either non-compulsory and registered with AusIndustry or compulsory.

    This also includes laundromat and dry-cleaning expenses.

    We consider that a reasonable basis for working out your laundry claim is:

    • $1 per load if it only contains clothing you wear at work from one of the categories above
    • 50c per load if you mix personal items with work clothing from one of the categories above.

    You can claim the actual costs you incurred for repairing 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 calculate and be able to show how you worked out your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.

    Example: laundering a compulsory uniform with plain clothes

    Lauren is a personal trainer with a professional netball team. Her employer provides her with polo shirts embroidered with the team’s name and logo. She must wear these shirts to all team training sessions and events.

    Lauren buys plain black exercise pants and business pants to wear with the polo-shirts.

    Lauren can claim the cost of laundering the shirts she is provided as they are:

    • distinctive items with the employer's logo
    • compulsory for her to wear at work.

    She can't claim the costs to buy or launder the exercise and business pants as they are conventional in nature, even though she only wears them to work.

    Lauren washes her work shirts 3 times per week in a washing load with her other clothes. Lauren works for 30 weeks during the financial year and applies a reasonable basis to calculate her claim as follows:

    3 washes per week × $0.50 per load × 30 weeks of the year = $45

    End of example

     

    Example: laundering conventional clothing – not deductible

    Sam is a receptionist and general administration officer at the gym. His employer doesn't provide a uniform but requires staff to wear neat exercise wear to work.

    Sam buys his own exercise wear for work.

    Even though his employer requires him to wear them to work, Sam can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or laundering the exercise wear. These are conventional clothes.

    End of example

    Massage expenses

    You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of massage or other alternative therapies, these are private expenses.

    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.

    You can claim:

    • overtime meal expenses, but only if you buy and eat the meal while you are performing overtime and you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial award
    • cost of meals you incur when you are travelling overnight for the purpose of carrying out your employment duties (travel expenses).

    Music streaming services, CDs, audio books or podcasts

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of music streaming services, CDs, audio books, podcasts or devices that you listen to at work. Even if they're used to keep you motivated or occupied at work, these items aren't essential to earning your income. They are private expenses.

    You may be able claim a deduction for the cost of music you stream or CDs you purchase for use in carrying out your employment duties. For example, if you run an exercise class and you are required to provide your own music. However, if you pay for a streaming service which you mainly use when you are not carrying out your employment duties, any work-related use will be incidental and you will not be entitled to a deduction for any part of the cost.

    Newspapers and other news services, magazines and professional publications

    The cost of newspapers, other news services and magazines are generally private expenses and not deductible.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying or subscribing to a professional publication, newspaper or magazine if you can show:

    • a direct connection between your specific work duties and the content
    • the content is specific to your employment and is not general in nature.

    If you use the publication for work and private purposes, you can only claim the portion related to your work-related use.

    Example: deduction for work-related magazine

    Gregory is an employee dietician. He works with various professional sporting teams. Gregory subscribes to the Nutrition & Dietetics journal to keep up to date on the latest research in nutrition.

    Gregory can claim a deduction for the cost of his subscription as there is direct connection between the content and his specific work duties.

    End of example

    Overtime meal expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime, if all of the following apply:

    • you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, agreement or an award
    • the allowance is on your income statement as a separate allowance
    • you include the allowance in your tax return as income.

    You can't claim a deduction if the allowance is part of your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your income statement.

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

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

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

    • you spent the money
    • how you work out your claim.

    Example: deduction for overtime meals

    Carl is a gym instructor. 30 times during the income year Carl works overtime after completing his normal 8 hour shift. He receives an overtime meal break and overtime meal allowance of $12.50 under the award each time this occurs.

    Carl generally buys and eats a meal costing $15 during overtime which is less than the reasonable amount for the relevant year. Carl's income statement shows the overtime meal allowances as a separate allowance totalling $375. That is, 30 overtime shifts × $12.50.

    In his tax return, Carl includes the allowance as income and claims a deduction. He works out his deduction as:

    $15 × 30 overtime shifts = $450.

    That is the actual amount he spent on overtime meals which he multiplies by the number of overtime shifts.

    As the amount Carl spent on his meals is less than the reasonable amount, Carl doesn't have to keep receipts. However, if asked, Carl will have to show that he spent the $450 on overtime meals and how he worked out his claim.

    End of example

    For more information, see TD 2021/6 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2021-22 income year?

    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. This is a private expense.

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

    Example: parking fees

    Spencer drives his own car to work each day and parks in the secure parking centre next to the fitness centre where he works.

    Once a month Spencer drives his car to a training facility to train new fitness instructors, required for his role as a fitness coach. He pays for parking and isn't reimbursed by his employer.

    Spencer can't claim the cost he incurs parking at his regular place of work. However, he can claim his parking at the training facility as he incurs this expense on a work-related trip.

    End of example

    Phone, data and internet expenses

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

    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 phone 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 phone calls.

    Example: calculating phone expenses

    Ralph 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 phone calls.

    At least once a year, Ralph prints out his account and highlights the work-related phone calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is phoning for work – for example, his manager and his clients.

    Out of the 300 phone calls he has made in a four-week period, Ralph works out that 120 (40%) of the individual phone call expenses billed to him are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

    Ralph calculates his work use percentage for phone calls as follows:

    Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for calls (120 ÷ 300 = 40%)

    Ralph can claim 40% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, calculated as:

    $49 × 0.40 = $19.60

    As Ralph was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), he works out his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    10.6 months × $19.60 = $207.76

    End of example

     

    Example: work and private use

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

    Sasha'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.

    If there was anyone else that accesses the internet connection, Sasha must reduce her claim to account for their use.

    End of example

    For more fitness and sporting industry employees' expenses, see:

      Last modified: 16 May 2022QC 19680