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  • Common expenses T–W

    Details on claiming common hospitality industry employee expenses for:

    Taxi, ride-share, public transport and car hire

    You can claim a deduction for transport costs if you travel in the course of performing your work, for example, taking a taxi from your regular workplace to another work location.

    You can’t claim a deduction for travel expenses between home and work, these are private expenses.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer reimburses you for these expenses.

    Tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment you use to perform your duties as a hospitality industry employee. For example, an event planner who requires a laptop to arrange events and liaise with their clients.

    If the tool or equipment cost you $300 or less, you can claim for the full amount in the year you buy it, if:

    • you use it mainly for work purposes
    • it's not part of a set that together cost more than $300.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (that is, decline in value), if the tool or equipment: is

    • cost more than $300
    • is part of a set that together cost more than $300.

    If you bought the tool or item of equipment part way through the year, you can only claim a deduction for the decline in value for the period of the income year that you own it.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of repairs to tools and equipment that you use for work purposes.

    You can't claim a deduction for tools and equipment that your employer or a third-party supplies for use.

    Example: depreciation of tools and equipment

    Lina works as a short order cook at a local café where she is required to provide her own chef knives as the café owner has not completely fitted out the kitchen. Lina doesn't own her own knives when she takes the job as all her previous positions have provided this equipment.

    Lina can claim a deduction for the cost of the knives she buys as she requires them to perform her work duties. The set of six knives with chef roll to carry them in cost her $550.

    As the knives are part of a set costing more than $300, Lina will need to claim a deduction for the decline in value of the knives over their effective life.

    End of example


    Example: personal and work-related use

    Denise is a head chef at a restaurant. As head chef, Denise is required to create new dishes and menus regularly outside of restaurant hours at home. Denise uses her laptop to research recipes, test recipes and develop menus at home. She has to take her laptop to work as the recipes and menus are stored on her laptop.

    Denise buys a laptop bag from Mimco for $200, that she uses to carry her laptop. She carries her cash and cards, personal phone and other personal items in a smaller clutch bag.

    Denise can claim a deduction for the cost of the bag as her job requires her to transport the laptop to work and the bag (laptop bag) she has purchased is suitable for that purpose.

    As the total cost for the laptop bag is less than $300, she can claim a deduction for the full cost of the bag ($200) in the income year that she bought the bag.

    End of example

    See also:

    Travel expenses

    You can claim a deduction for expenses you incur when your work requires you to both:

    • travel for work
    • sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties.

    Expenses you can claim include your accommodation, meals and expenses which are incidental to the travel (incidentals). For example, when you travel interstate to attend a work-related conference, seminar or training course.

    You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you don't incur any expenses, because:

    • you slept in accommodation your employer provides
    • you eat meals your employer provides
    • your employer or a third party reimburses you for any costs you incur.

    Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn't automatically mean you can claim a deduction. In all cases, you need to be able to show:

    • you were away overnight
    • you spent the money
    • the travel directly relates to earning your employment income
    • how you work out your claim.

    If you receive a travel allowance you must include it as assessable income in your tax return unless all the following apply:

    • the travel allowance is not on your income statement or payment summary
    • the travel allowance doesn't exceed the Commissioner's reasonable amount
    • you spent the whole allowance on deductible accommodation, meal and incidental expenses, if applicable.

    The Commissioner's reasonable amount is set each year. The amount is used to determine whether an exception from keeping written evidence applies for the following expenses which are covered by a travel allowance:

    • accommodation
    • meal
    • incidentals.

    You don't have to keep written evidence such as receipts if both of the following apply:

    • you receive a travel allowance from your employer for the expenses
    • your deduction is less than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    If you claim a deduction for more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount you need to keep receipts for all expenses, not just for the amount over the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    Even if you are not required to keep written evidence such as receipts, you must be able to explain your claim and show you spent the amounts.

    See also:

    • TD 2020/5 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2020-21 income year?
    • Travel expenses

    Union and professional association fees

    You can claim a deduction for union and professional association fees you pay. You can use your income statement as evidence of the amount you pay if it's shown on there.

    See also:

    For more hospitality industry employee expenses, see:

    Find out about hospitality industry employees'

      Last modified: 23 Feb 2021QC 51240