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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common guard and security employee 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
    • work outside normal business hours.

    In limited circumstances, you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work or where you had shifting places of employment.

    To be able to claim a deduction for the cost of trips between home and work while carrying bulky tools or equipment, all the following conditions must be met:

    • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties
    • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that
      • because of the size and weight, they are awkward to transport, and
      • can only be transported conveniently using a motor vehicle
       
    • there is no secure storage for the items at the workplace.

    It will not be sufficient if you transport the tools or equipment merely as a matter of choice. For example, if your employer provides reasonably secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

    You are considered to have shifting places of employment where you have no fixed place of work and you continually travel from one work site to another.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of using a car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase agreement) when you drive:

    • between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from your security post at a warehouse to your second job as a bouncer
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, driving between different construction sites where you perform your duties as a security guard.

    You can’t claim a deduction when using a badged or unbadged vehicle provided by your employer, unless you covered the cost of fuel, were not reimbursed by your employer, and the cost was a result of you performing your employment duties.

    You can't claim car expenses for a car you use under a salary sacrifice or novated lease arrangement. This is because it's usually your employer leasing the car from the financing company and making it available for your use. You can however claim additional work-related expenses you incur that are associated with your work use of the car such as parking and tolls.

    To claim a deduction, you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the cents per kilometre method or the logbook method to work out your deduction.

    If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to help you work out the percentage of work-related use along with evidence of your car expenses.

    If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to be able to show how you worked out your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

    To claim a deduction in your tax return, include the amount of your claim at ‘Work-related car expenses’. The Work-related car expenses calculator can help you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction.

    You can’t use the cents per kilometre or logbook methods to work out your claim for a:

    • motorcycle
    • vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more (such as a ute)
    • vehicle that can transport nine passengers or more (such as a people mover).

    For these vehicles, you can claim the actual expenses you incur for your work-related travel. This includes costs such as fuel, oil, insurance and loan interest along with the decline in value of the vehicle. You must keep receipts for all your expenses and records to show your work-related use of the vehicle. The easiest way to do this is to keep a logbook or documents that provide similar details to a logbook.

    To claim a deduction for actual expenses you incur for a vehicle not defined as a car, include the amount at ‘Work-related travel expenses’.

    Example: no deduction for home to work travel

    Winston is a security guard who works during the week at a bank in the city. Winston drives his own car into the city and parks in a secure parking centre. He wears his security guard uniform to work but carries a duffel bag containing a change of clothes, a pair of sneakers as well as his lunch and a drink bottle.

    Winston can't claim any expenses relating to driving his car from home to work as the bag and its contents are essential to perform his employment duties and they are not considered bulky. Even if the items were essential, the bag and its contents are not awkward to transport due to their size and weight and a motor vehicle is not the only way to transport them conveniently.

    End of example

     

    Example: travelling to work outside of regular hours

    Penelope is an employee of a security company and works at the front desk of a high-rise office building. She typically works the day roster from 7.00am until 2.00pm. Penelope finishes work and returns home at the end of the day. At 6.00pm, she receives a call and is asked to return to work to backfill a colleague who has called in sick. Even though Penelope is travelling to work outside her regular hours she can’t claim a deduction as it's still considered private travel between home and her regular workplace.

    End of example

    For more detailed information, see:

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for child care (including school holidays and before and after school care) when you're working. It's a private expense and the expenses have no direct connection to earning your income.

    Clothing and uniform expenses (including footwear)

    With a few exceptions, clothing is a private expense. You can't claim conventional clothing (including footwear) as a work-related expense, even if your employer requires you to wear it and you only wear these items of clothing at work.

    'Conventional clothing' is everyday clothing worn by people regardless of their occupation – for example, black pants and a white shirt worn by security guards.

    You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's in one of the following categories:

    • protective clothing
    • occupation specific clothing
    • a compulsory uniform, that your employer strictly and consistently enforces you wear by workplace agreement or policy and distinctly identifies either
      • you as an employee working for a particular employer
      • the products or services your employer provides
       
    • a non-compulsory uniform, that your employer listed on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing with AusIndustry.

    Protective clothing is clothing you wear to protect yourself from specific risks of injury or illness at work. The clothing must have protective features or functions (for example, steel-capped boots, fire-resistant clothing, or boiler suits that protect conventional clothing). Conventional clothes you wear at work are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work. This includes jeans, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks and closed shoes.

    Occupation specific clothing distinctly identifies you as a person associated with a particular profession, trade or occupation (for example a judge's robes or a chef's chequered pants). Items traditionally worn in a profession are not occupation-specific where the clothing is worn by multiple professions.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer buys, repairs or replaces your clothing.

    Example: compulsory uniform with logo

    Koen is a security guard. His employer requires him to wear a black polo shirt embroidered with their logo, plain black pants and black enclosed shoes when he is at work.

    During the year Koen buys two of the polo shirts from his employer, three pairs of plain black pants and two pairs of black enclosed shoes that he only wears to work.

    Koen can claim a deduction for the cost of buying the shirts as they are:

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

    He can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying the black pants or shoes as they are items of a conventional nature even though he only wears them at work.

    End of example

    See also:

    Driver's licence

    You can't claim a deduction for obtaining or renewing your driver's licence, even if you must have it as a condition of employment. This is a private expense.

    Fines and penalties

    You can't claim a deduction for any fines you get when you travel to work or during work. Fines may include parking and speeding fines or penalties.

    Firearms and guns

    Where there is a direct connection to your work duties as a guard or security employee, you can claim a deduction for the:

    • decline in value of firearms and guns
    • maintenance of firearms and guns
    • cost of ammunition
    • costs you incur to renew a gun licence.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for these expenses.

    First aid courses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you are both:

    • a designated first aid person
    • need to complete a first aid training course to assist in emergency work situations.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for the cost of the course.

    Fitness expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for health and fitness expenses, because these are private expenses. This includes:

    • gym fees and conventional clothing worn at the gym including tracksuits, running or aerobic shoes, socks, sporting shirts or shorts
    • the cost of a program specifically designed to manage weight
    • the cost of normal food substitutes or the cost of food for special dietary purposes
    • the cost of vitamins, minerals or sports supplements, such as protein shakes.

    For more guard and security employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 17 Feb 2021QC 19679