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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 will need to be able to show how you work out you claim if we request this information. 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.

    See also:

    Car expenses

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

    • live a long way from your usual workplace
    • have to work outside normal business hours (for example, weekend or early morning shifts).

    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 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.

    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 first job as a barista directly 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 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.

    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 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: private travel to work

    Simone works as a waitress at a local restaurant. She is often required to work late into the night closing after the last customers have left. The only available bus does not operate past 7.00pm so Simone has to drive to and from work.

    The cost of her trip to and from 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 two 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 two workplaces, he can claim a deduction for that travel.

    End of example

    For more detailed information, see:

    See also:

    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 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 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
    • 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, closed shoes.

    Occupation specific clothing distinctly identifies you as a person associated 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.

    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 requires him to buy and wear a shirt with café's logo embroidered on it. Pablo's employee guidelines include a requirement to wear black pants and closed black shoes, but don't stipulate any other qualities of those items.

    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 paints 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 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 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

    See also:

    Driver's licence

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

    For more hospitality industry employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 23 Feb 2021QC 51240