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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common hospitality industry employee expenses for:

    Award transport payments (fares allowance)

    Allowances you receive from your employer for transport or car expenses that are paid under an award must be included in your tax return. These allowances are assessable income.

    You can claim a deduction for expenses covered by award transport payments, if the expenses are for work-related travel, and you have actually spent the money.

    You don’t need written evidence if your claim is less than the amount in the award as at 29 October 1986. If you're unsure of this amount, your union or employer can tell you.

    If you don't need written evidence, you will need to be able to show how you work out you claim if we ask for this information.

    Car expenses

    You can't claim a car expenses deduction for normal trips between your home and regular place of work. These are private expenses, even if you:

    • live a long way from your usual or regular workplace
    • have to work outside normal business hours (for example, weekend or early morning shifts)
    • have to carry an item that is illegal to carry on public transport.

    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
      • they can only be transported conveniently using a motor vehicle
    • there is no secure storage for these 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 before returning home.

    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:

    • directly between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from your first job as a barista directly to your second job as a retail assistant
    • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from the preparation depot to a function centre to cater an event
    • from home directly to an alternative workplace – for example, travelling from home to a supplier to pick up ingredients.

    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 work out your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

    If you claim your work-related car expenses using one of the above methods, you can’t claim any further deductions in the same tax return for the same car. For example, petrol, servicing, and insurance costs.

    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 9 passengers or more (such as a minibus).

    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: private travel to regular place of work

    Simone works as a waitress at a local restaurant. She is often works late into the night closing after the last customers have left. The only available bus doesn't operate past 7:00 pm so Simone has to drive to and from work.

    The cost of her trip to and from her regular place of work is not deductible as it is private in nature. She incurs the expense to put herself in the position to earn her employment income.

    End of example

     

    Example: direct travel between 2 separate workplaces

    Owen works primarily as a waiter but has another part-time job as a retail assistant. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, he drives directly from his job as a waiter to his job as a retail assistant.

    As the travel is between 2 workplaces, he can claim a deduction for that travel.

    End of example

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of 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 can't be deducted as a work-related 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 white business shirts worn by hospitality industry employees.

    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 – clothing with protective features and functions that you wear to protect you from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, non-slip shoes, fire-resistant clothing, or aprons 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, shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, closed shoes.
    • occupation-specific clothing – clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person with a particular profession, trade or occupation. For example, a chef's chequered pants or white jacket. Items traditionally worn in a profession are not occupation-specific where the clothing is worn by multiple professions.
    • a compulsory uniform – clothing 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 – clothing that your employer registers on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing with AusIndustry.

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

    Example: conventional clothes worn with a uniform

    Pablo is a barista in a coffee chain café. His employer has a uniform policy which requires him to wear a shirt with the café's logo embroidered on it, black pants and closed black shoes. The uniform policy doesn't stipulate any other qualities that the pants and shoes must have. Pablo buys his own uniforms.

    Pablo can claim a deduction for the cost of the shirts as they are a compulsory uniform, but he can't claim the cost of the pants or shoes. Even though his employer requires him to wear a specific colour, they are not distinctive enough to make them part of his uniform and are still conventional clothes.

    End of example

     

    Example: occupation-specific clothing

    Joe is a chef with 2 jobs. When working at a restaurant he wears the traditional chef's uniform of chequered pants, white jacket and chef's toque that he buys and is not reimbursed for. He also works on a food truck, but just wears jeans and a t-shirt at that job.

    Joe can claim a deduction for the cost he incurs to buy his traditional chef's uniform, but not his other outfit. The chef's clothing is particular and relevant to his profession, but the jeans and t-shirt are conventional clothes.

    End of example

    Drivers licence

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost to get or renew your drivers 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. For example, a fine you receive for parking illegally outside your workplace.

    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.

    For more hospitality industry employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 19 Aug 2022QC 51240