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  • Deductions

    You may be able to claim deductions for your work-related expenses. Work-related expenses are expenses you incur on items used to earn your income as flight crew.

    To claim a deduction for a work-related expense:

    • you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
    • it must be directly related to earning your income
    • you must have a record to prove it (usually a receipt).

    If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

    You can use the ATO app's myDeductions tool to help keep track of your work-related expenses. It’s an easy way to capture information on-the-go and makes tax time quicker by uploading your deductions to your tax return.

    For a summary of common deductions for flight crew, see Flight attendants deductions (PDF, 250KB)This link will download a file.

    Or, for a detailed list to help you work out if your expense is deductible, and how much you can claim, see:

    Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common flight crew expenses for:

    Car expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the normal trips between your home and work. These are private expenses even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of using your car when you are travelling for work. For example, when you:

    • drive between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling to a separate job
    • drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day.

    The Work-related car expenses calculator helps calculate the amount you can claim as a deduction for car expenses.

    You must keep records of your car use. If you drive a car you can choose between the cents per kilometre method or the logbook method to calculate your deduction. If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a logbook to help you determine the percentage of work-related use of your car. If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to provide a calculation of your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

    If you own a motorcycle, or a vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or nine passengers or more you can deduct your actual expenses.

    Example: travel between home and work

    Jenny works for a regional airline and is required to be on standby. She regularly checks-in with her employer via the internet and mobile phone and occasionally is contacted at home after regular hours for shift work or to attend to other matters.

    Although Jenny is at home on standby, her travel between home and work is considered private travel and can't be claimed as a deduction.

    End of example


    Example: travelling directly between two separate workplaces

    Mia is a flight attendant who has a second job at a supermarket, where she works in the mornings. On most days, Mia travels directly from the supermarket to the airport to start her afternoon shift with ABC Airlines. Mia can claim the cost of her travel from the supermarket to her second job at the airport.

    On occasion, Mia finishes work early at the supermarket, and has time to go home and change into her uniform for her shift at ABC Airlines. On these occasions, Mia isn't entitled to claim the cost of her travel from the supermarket to home, and from home to the airport, as she has not travelled directly from one job to the other.

    End of example


    Example: travel for training that you can claim

    David was recently designated as a first-aid person to assist in emergency work situations. He travels from the airport to attend a first-aid training course while still on duty and then travels directly home.

    The cost of the journey from the airport to the first-aid training course and then home is deductible. David can also claim a deduction for the cost of the training course if he isn't reimbursed for the amount.

    End of example


    Example: travelling from main workplace to alternate workplace

    Jo works for ABC Airlines and one day per month is required to travel from her airport office to the city to give management an update of her team's performance. The city office isn't her regular workplace. These meetings usually last three hours and then she returns to her office at the airport.

    The cost of the round trip from the airport to the city office and back to the airport is work-related. Therefore, the cost of the journey she incurred is deductible, as the city office isn't a regular workplace. For example, if she used a taxi and wasn't reimbursed for the fare, the taxi fare she paid would be deductible. If she used her own car, she can claim her car expense by using the cents per kilometre method for the number of kilometres she travelled on this trip.

    End of example


    Example: travel that you can't claim

    Maria works for Quality Airlines and is regularly employed at one workplace some days and at another workplace on other days. In both cases, the workplaces are considered to be the normal workplaces where Maria performs her normal duties. The cost of travel between home and the workplaces isn't deductible.

    If you travel to and from a place of education because you are completing a work-related education course, you may be entitled to claim the travel costs as a self-education expense on your tax return.

    End of example

    Cash or bar shortages

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of making up cash or bar shortages.

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for child care that you pay for when you are working. It is a private expense.

    Clothing expenses (including footwear)

    You can claim a deduction for the cost you incur when you buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it is:

    • protective
    • occupation specific (and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing)
    • a uniform.

    To claim a deduction for the cost of a uniform it must be unique, distinctive and compulsory to wear. Clothing in a specific colour or brand isn't enough to classify clothing as a uniform. For example, a shirt with the corporate logo on it that you must wear when you work is a uniform, so you can get a deduction for buying it.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it. You can't claim for:

    • heavy duty conventional clothing such as jeans, drill shirts and trousers
    • running shoes or casual shoes.

    These are private expenses.

    Example: deduction for compulsory uniform

    Alix is a flight attendant employed by Airline ABC. Her employer has a strict uniform policy. As part of her compulsory uniform, she wears grey-mist stockings and black leather court shoes. Failure by Alix to comply with the airline uniform directive and orders of dress could result in disciplinary action. Neither the grey-mist stockings nor the black leather court shoes are used by Alix other than when she is in uniform.

    A deduction is allowable for the cost of Alix's grey-mist stockings and black leather court shoes worn as an integral part of her compulsory uniform specified in the Airline ABC uniform directive.

    End of example


    Example: deduction for a second pair of shoes

    Sarah is a flight attendant employed by an international airline. Her employer has supplied each flight attendant with a pair of shoes that meets their strict compulsory uniform policy. Sarah found that she needed another pair of shoes and decided to buy herself a second pair. The shoes that Sarah bought meet all of the conditions of the strict compulsory uniform and were the same as the ones provided by the airline in colour, style and type except they were more comfortable.

    A deduction is allowable for the cost of the shoes that Sarah bought for herself because they meet the conditions of the strict compulsory uniform policy and she uses them only for work.

    End of example


    Example: deduction for a single item of distinctive clothing

    Karen is employed as a flight attendant by a regional airline doing routes from Perth to the mining towns in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Her employer provides her with a brown shirt with the company's logo and name printed on the shirt. She is required to wear this shirt at all times when she is at work. The shirt is only worn by employees of the company and isn't available for purchase by the general public. Her employer expects Karen to be well presented but does not stipulate what colour or style of clothing or footwear must be worn with the shirt.

    Karen's stockings, trousers, skirts and shoes are items of ordinary clothing and don't form part of a uniform. Consequently she would not be entitled to a deduction for their cost or maintenance as it is private expenditure.

    Karen would be entitled to a deduction for the laundry and maintenance costs of the shirt supplied by the company that has the company logo and name on it and that she must wear when at work.

    If this shirt was not supplied and Karen had to purchase the shirt, she would be entitled to a deduction for its cost as well as the maintenance.

    End of example


    Example: you can't claim a deduction for ordinary clothing

    Burke is a flight attendant employed by Airline XYZ to work in the business class section of the plane. His employer requires him to wear a good quality, dark coloured, tailored business suit, long sleeved single coloured cotton shirt, a tie, black leather shoes and black socks.

    XYZ considers that Burke should be dressed immaculately at all times as the company's image is of particular importance. In recognition of this requirement, XYZ pays Burke a clothing allowance of $4,000 per annum. Burke expended the allowance purchasing the clothing and footwear prescribed by XYZ. He only wears the clothing and footwear for work purposes.

    A deduction isn't allowable for the cost of Burke's clothing because it doesn't constitute either a:

    • compulsory corporate uniform
    • non-compulsory corporate uniform registered with AusIndustry.
    End of example

    See also:

    For more flight crew expenses, see:

      Last modified: 10 Apr 2019QC 24416