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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common flight crew expenses for:

    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. These are a private expense.

    You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips between two separate places of work.

    Example: parking fees

    Bruce drives his own car to the airport and parks in the paid staff carpark.

    Once each month, Bruce drives his car to the training centre for mandatory training. He pays for parking at the training centre and his employer doesn't reimburse him.

    Bruce can't claim the cost of parking at the airport which is his regular place of work. However, he is able to claim parking when he drives from home to the training centre as he incurs the cost on a work-related trip.

    End of example

    Passport application and renewal fees

    You can't claim a deduction for acquiring or renewing a passport, because this primarily relates to your personal right to travel overseas. Passport expenses are private in nature and not deductible.

    Phone, data and internet expenses

    You can claim a deduction for phone, data and internet costs if you use your own phone or electronic devices for work purposes.

    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 the apportionment of phone expenses

    Lily uses her mobile phone for work purposes (mainly outgoing calls). She is on a set mobile phone plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

    Lily receives an itemised account from her phone provider each month by email that includes details of the individual phone calls she has made.

    At least once a year, Lily prints out her account and highlights her work-related calls. She makes notes on her account for the first month about who she is calling for work – for example her employer and manager.

    Of the 200 phone calls she has made in a 4 week period, Lily works out that 30 calls (15%) are for work and applies that percentage to her cap amount of $49 a month.

    She works out her calls for work purposes as follows:

    Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls

    30 ÷ 200 = 15%

    Lily can claim 15% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, that is:

    $49 × 15% = $7.35

    Lily was only at work for 38 weeks of the year (8.8 months), she calculates her work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    8.8 months × $7.35 = $64.68

    End of example

     

    Example: work and private use of computer

    Simone uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and complete work-related online courses. Simone also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes.

    Simone keeps a diary for a four-week period, recording the times she used the internet for work and private purposes. Simone's diary shows 10% of her internet use was for work-related activities and 90% for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200, she can claim:

    $1,200 × 10% = $120 for work-related internet use.

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

    End of example

    Product knowledge

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of acquiring product knowledge. For example, expenses you incur to try cheese and wine sold on the flights you work. This also applies to travel to the destinations your route flies. These expenses are not sufficiently related to your income-earning activities as a flight crew member.

    Protective items

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items if you wear them to protect you from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment or while performing your work duties:

    To be considered protective, the equipment must provide a sufficient degree of protection against the risks of illness or injury you are exposed to in carrying out your work duties. Protective items can include safety glasses, ear plugs and breathing masks.

    For example, flight crew can claim a deduction for the cost ear-plugs as they use there to protect their hearing when on the tarmac.

    You can also claim the costs you incur to repair, replace or clean protective items.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer:

    • supplies the protective items.
    • reimburses you for the cost you incur to buy protective items.

    Removal and relocation expenses

    You can’t claim a deduction for the cost to transfer or relocate to a new work location. This is the case whether the move is a condition of your existing job or you are taking up a new job.

    Example: relocating due to transfer

    Caitlyn is a flight attendant based out of Sydney. She temporarily transfers to Newcastle for 2 years by request from her employer.

    Caitlyn can't claim a deduction for her relocation costs, rent or other living expenses.

    End of example

    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 an amount for your work-related use.

    Self-education and study expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education and study expenses if it directly relates to your employment as flight crew 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.

    You can't claim a deduction if the self-education or study course:

    • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
    • only relates in a general way to your current employment
    • enables you to get employment or change employment.

    If your self-education and study expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

    You can't claim a deduction for the repayments you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

    • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
    • VET Student Loans (VETSL)
    • Trade Support Loan Program (TSL)
    • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
    • Student Start-up Loan (SSL).

    While course fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

    If you have set aside a home office to do your study, you may also be able to claim work from home running expenses, but not occupancy expenses.

    You generally can't claim a deduction for the first $250 of expenses for self-education.

    Example: doesn't maintain or improve specific skills or knowledge

    Brianna is a flight attendant. Her duties consist of helping passengers in locating their seats, stowing luggage and carry-on items, conducting emergency safety procedures and demonstrating emergency equipment as well as regular in-flight services such as preparing and serving meals and drinks to passengers.

    Brianna wants to become a commercial airline pilot so she is studying a Diploma of Aviation. The course isn't connected to the work duties she performs and the specific knowledge she gains from her study are unrelated.

    Brianna can't claim a deduction for any costs she incurs obtaining the Diploma of Aviation.

    End of example

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as flight crew.

    The costs you can claim includes fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

    You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

    Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course, for example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion.

    Example: deductible training course

    Nelly is a flight attendant that has been promoted to cabin crew supervisor. After accepting the promotion, Nelly enrols in a training course on Inflight leadership to build on her communication and decision-making skills.

    As this course is related to Nelly's current position as a cabin crew supervisor, she can claim a deduction for the cost of attending the course as well as any incidental expenses she incurs, such as taxi fares, training materials or parking fees.

    End of example

    Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens

    You can claim a deduction for the work-related use of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if you:

    • must work in the sun for extended periods
    • use these items to protect yourself from the real and likely risk of illness or injury while at work.

    This includes prescription sunglasses and anti-glare glasses.

    You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the products if you also wear them for private purposes

    Example: claiming sunglasses

    Sally works on the tarmac at an airport unloading luggage off the plane. She buys a pair of prescription sunglasses to protect her eyes from glare and sun damage during the day.

    As the prescription sunglasses protect Sally's eyes from the glare and damage of the sun while she is carrying out her employment duties, she can claim the cost of the sunglasses as a deduction.

    If Sally also uses her prescription sunglasses for private purposes, she will have to work out her deduction based on the portion she uses them for work.

    End of example

    For more flight crew expenses, see:

      Last modified: 16 May 2022QC 24416