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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common guard and security employee 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.

    Example: parking fees

    Candi drives her own car to work each day and parks in the secure parking centre next to the security company where she works.

    Once a month Candi drives her car to a training facility to complete mandatory training, required for her role as a security consultant. She pays for parking and isn't reimbursed by her employer.

    Candi can't claim the cost she incurs for parking at her regular place of work. However, she is able to claim parking at the training facility as this is incurred on a work-related trip.

    End of example

    Phone, data and internet expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the 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 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 calls.

    Example: calculating phone expenses

    Sebastian uses his mobile phone for work purposes (mainly outgoing calls). He is on a set mobile phone 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 calls.

    At least once a year, Sebastian prints out his account and highlights the work-related calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is calling for work. For example, calls to his manager.

    Out of the 300 calls he has made in a four-week period, Sebastian works out that 90 (30%) of the individual call expenses billed to him are work-related. He applies the percentage 30%) to his cap amount of $49 a month.

    He works out his work use percentage for calls as follows:

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

    90 ÷ 300 = 30%

    Sebastian can claim 30% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, that is:

    $49 × 0.30 = $14.70

    Sebastian worked for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), so he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    10.6 months × $14.70 = $155.82

    End of example


    Example: work and private use

    Linh uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and manage her work schedule. She uses her computer and the internet for both work and private purposes.

    Linh keeps a diary for a four-week period, recording the times she used the internet for work and private purposes. Linh's diary showed 5% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 95% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

    $1,200 × 5% = $60 for work-related internet use

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

    End of example

    See also:

    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.

    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 current employment as a guard or security employee 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:

    • 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 home office running expenses, but not occupancy expenses. You generally can't claim a deduction for the first $250 of expenses for self-education.

    Example: study expenses

    Denise is studying a Certificate one in security operations while working as a bank teller. She is offered the position of security advisor in the bank’s security division upon the successful completion of her studies.

    Denise can't claim a deduction for her study expenses while employed as a bank teller as the course isn't related to her current employment.

    If Denice continues on to a Certificate two in security operations after commencing in the security advisor role for the bank, she would be able to claim her self-education expenses as the study would improve or maintain her skills in her current role as a security advisor.

    End of example

    For more detailed information and record keeping, see:

    See also:

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a guard or security employee.

    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

    Pierre is a cash-in-transit guard who collects, transfers and delivers cash or other valuables whilst armed. Pierre attends a weapons training course after obtaining employment as a cash-in-transit guard. The ability to correctly and effectively use a weapon is an important skill which will enable Pierre to perform his duties safely and effectively.

    Pierre can claim a deduction for the cost he incurs to attend the weapons training course as it will improve and maintain the skills he requires to perform his employment duties.

    End of example


    Example: course expenses paid by the employer

    Henry is a security guard. He provides security to building construction sites. Before commencing his employment Henry is required by his employer to complete a combined occupational health and safety and first aid course. The course ensures that he is able to safely move around the construction sites and provide first aid care in the event of an illness or injury onsite.

    Henry's employer pays for his participation in the course with their preferred provider. The courses require Henry to travel 30km from his workplace to the training venue where he incurs parking costs of $15. Henry pays for these costs on the day and then provides the receipts to his employer who reimburses him for the expense.

    Henry can't claim a deduction for the course fees, travel expenses or parking as all of these costs are met or reimbursed by his employer.

    End of example

    Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen

    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 – for example, to stand in the sun for certain outdoor events such as a music festival
    • use these items to protect you 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.

    For more guard and security employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 17 Feb 2021QC 19679