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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common hospitality industry employee expenses for:

    Award transport payments (fares allowance)

    If you receive an allowance from your employer for transport expenses or car expenses and it's paid to you under an award, it's assessable income and must be included on your tax return.

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

    See also:

    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 (for example, weekend or early morning shifts). These are private expenses.

    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. You can claim a deduction for the cost of these trips if all of the following conditions are met:

    • the tools or equipment are essential for the performance of your employment duties
    • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning they are of such a large size or weight that transportation by car or other private vehicle is the only realistic option
    • there is no secure storage for such 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 can claim a deduction for the cost of using a car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase agreement) when you're travelling for work and drive:

    • between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from the restaurant you work in to your second job as a retail assistant
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from the preparation depot to a function centre to cater an event.

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

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

    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 the actual expenses related to your work travel.

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for child care when you're working. It's 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's:

    • protective
    • occupation specific (and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing)
    • a compulsory uniform that identifies you as an employee of an organisation with a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while you're at work
    • a non-compulsory uniform, if your employer has registered the design with AusIndustry.

    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 your employer strictly requires you to wear when you work is a compulsory uniform, so you can claim a deduction for buying it.

    You can claim clothing and footwear that you wear to protect yourself from the risk of illness or injury posed by your income-earning activities or the environment in which you carry them out. To be considered protective, the items must provide a sufficient degree of protection against that risk – for example, protective boots or non-slip shoes.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying plain clothing, such as black trousers, plain shirts or black shoes worn at work, even if

    • you only wear it to work
    • your employer tells you to wear it.

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

    Example: compulsory uniform with logo

    Pablo is a barista in a coffee chain café. His employer provides him with embroidered shirts that he is required to wear at work. The employer's logo on the shirts is registered with AusIndustry. As part of his uniform, he is also required to wear black pants and black shoes.

    Pablo can claim a deduction for the cost of laundering the shirts as they are:

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

    However, he can't claim the cost of purchasing or cleaning his black pants or shoes as they are conventional clothes.

    End of example

    Example: occupation-specific clothing

    Joe is a chef with two 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 wears jeans and a t-shirt to the second job.

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

    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.

    For more hospitality industry employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 20 Dec 2019QC 51240