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  • Common expenses T–W

    Details on claiming common fitness and sporting industry 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 transport 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 you use to perform your duties as a fitness or sporting industry employee. For example, exercise mats.

    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. Use the Depreciation and capital allowances tool to work out your deduction.

    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: tool and equipment costs less than $300

    Julian is a strength and conditioning coach with a professional football team. He buys additional training equipment ($150) that he only uses at work and stores at the club.

    Julian can claim an immediate deduction for the expenses as:

    • the equipment cost less than $300 and doesn't form part of a set
    • he requires the equipment to perform his work-related duties
    • he only uses these items at work.

    Julian keeps his receipt for the equipment expenses. He also takes a photo of the receipt using the myDeductions tool in the ATO app using his mobile device. Julian uploads this information to myTax when he lodges his tax return.

    End of example

     

    Example: tools and equipment costing less than $300

    Eliza is a sports and fitness nutritionist. She buys additional charts and figures to assist her in explaining information to her clients. The tools and equipment are stored at her workplace and not used for private purposes.

    Eliza can claim a deduction for these expenses as she:

    • incurs the cost
    • only uses charts and figures for her income-producing activities
    • has a record of the expenses.
    End of example

    Travel expenses

    You can claim a deduction for travel 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.

    You also can't claim a deduction if you are not required to sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties, for example if you fly interstate and return home the same day, or you choose to sleep near your workplace rather than returning home.

    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 shown 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
    • meals
    • incidentals.

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

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

    If you claim a deduction for more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount you need to keep written evidence for all expenses, not just for the amount over the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

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

    Example: deduction for travel expenses

    Rebecca is a fitness coach for a professional basketball team. When the team travels interstate for a game, Rebeca travels with them. Depending on the location and time of the game, the team either travels the night before the game and returns the following day after the game or travels and returns on the same day of the game.

    When she travels overnight for work, Rebecca's employer pays for her flights and accommodation and provides a travel allowance for her breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    When she travels for the day, Rebecca's employer pays for her flights and pays her a part-day travel allowance for meals.

    Rebecca can't claim the cost of her flights or accommodation as she didn't incur these expenses.

    Rebecca can claim a deduction for the cost of the meals she purchases when she travels overnight for work. However, Rebecca can't claim a deduction when she travels and returns on the same day of the game. These expenses are private.

    If Rebecca spends less than the reasonable amount on her meals when she travels overnight with the team, she isn't required to keep receipts. She can claim a deduction up to the Commissioner’s reasonable amount for breakfast, lunch and dinner so long as she:

    • actually incurs the meal expenses
    • reports the allowance as income in her tax return.
    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?

    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.

    Watches and smart watches

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or maintaining watches or timepieces, even if you require one as part of your job. This is a private expense.

    However, you can claim a deduction if your watch has special characteristics that you use for a work-related purpose. For example, a nurse's fob watch.

    If the watch cost more than $300, you can claim a deduction for its decline in value over the effective life.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of repairs, batteries and watchbands for special watches. You only claim a deduction for the amount you use the item at work if you also wear it for private purposes.

    Similar to ordinary watches, a smart watch (that connects to a phone or other device to provide notifications, apps and GPS, for example) is a private expense and not deductible under ordinary circumstances.

    However, if you require some of the smart watch's functions as an essential part of your employment activities you may be able to claim a deduction for the expenses related to your work-related use of the smart watch. In order to show your work-related use of the watch, you will need to keep a diary or similar record of your use of the device for a representative period.

    Example: smart watch not deductible

    Dan is a personal trainer who mainly trains his clients one-on-one. As part of his role, he tracks his clients progress including reps and weights used. Dan's employer provides him with a device and a program for recording these details. The device provided by Dan's employer doesn't allow him to check his messages while he is working so he buys a smart watch. He receives both private and work-related messages through the smart watch.

    Dan can't claim a deduction for the smart watch because his employer has provided him with the necessary tools to fulfil his work functions. The ability to check messages on his phone during work with his watch is not part of his employment duties.

    End of example

    Working from home expenses

    You may be able to claim a deduction for working from home expenses you incur as an employee. These can be additional running expenses such as electricity, the decline in value of equipment or furniture, phone and internet expenses. You must:

    • use one of the methods set out by us to calculate your deduction
    • keep the records required for the method you choose.

    There are some expenses you can't claim a deduction for as an employee. Employees who work at home can't claim costs:

    • for coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may provide you at work
    • for your children and their education including  
      • setting them up for online learning
      • teaching them at home
      • buying equipment such as iPads and desks
    • your employer pays for or reimburses you for the expense
    • for the decline in value of items provided by your employer – for example, a laptop or a phone.

    Generally as an employee, you can’t claim occupancy expenses (rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums), unless your home is your 'place of business'.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer paid for your home office to be set up or they reimbursed you for the expense.

    The Home office expenses calculator helps you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction for home office expenses.

    For more information, see:

    • PS LA 2001/6 Verification approaches for home office and electronic device expenses
    • TR 93/30 Income tax: deductions for home office expenses
    • PCG 2020/3 Claiming deductions for additional running expenses incurred whilst working from home due to COVID-19

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

    Find out about Fitness and sporting industry employees':

      Last modified: 16 May 2022QC 19680