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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common IT professional expenses for:

    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).

    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 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 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, you work for 2 different employers
    • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, a computer repairer who travels to multiple call outs per day
    • from home directly to an alternative workplace – for example, travelling from home directly to a clients' office to install computer software.

    You can't claim car expenses for a car you use under a salary sacrifice or novated lease arrangement. This is because it's usually your employer leasing the car from the financing company and making it available for your use. You can however claim additional work-related expenses you incur that are associated with your work use of the car such as parking and tolls.

    To claim a deduction, you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the logbook method or the cents per kilometre 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 written 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 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. Although you aren't required to keep a logbook, it is the easiest way to calculate your work-related use of the vehicle.

    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: travel between workplaces

    Blake is an ICT manager at a major telecommunications company in the city. In his job he must consult with clients about current communication systems to establish any enhancements required. He uses his own car to travel to these meetings and goes directly home after the meetings because they finish late.

    Blake can claim the cost of travelling from his city office to his client meetings and the cost of travelling from the meetings to his home. He can't claim travel from home and regular workplace in the city as this is private travel.

    End of example

     

    Example: shifting places of work

    Helen is a software installer and support officer. Helen's employer offers an installation service and ongoing support when they sell their software to a client. At the start of each working day, Helen's employer emails her a list of clients that she needs to visit.

    Helen can claim a deduction for car expenses she incurs when travelling:

    • from her home to the first client
    • between clients' premises
    • from the last client to her home.

    Helen's travel between home and work each day is deductible because Helen has shifting places of work.

    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.

    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, business attire worn by office workers.

    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 or functions you wear to protect you from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, cleaning aprons, non-slip shoes or smocks worn to stop you coming into contact with harmful substance. 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 – clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person with a particular profession, trade or occupation. For example, a judge's robes or a chef's checked pants. 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: claiming clothing expenses

    Danielle is an IT manager with a large company. She wears a black shirt with the company monogram supplied by her employer. It's compulsory for her to wear the shirt at work. Only employees of the company wear this shirt and it isn't available for purchase by the general public. Danielle's trousers, skirts and shoes are items of ordinary, everyday clothing.

    Danielle's employer supplies the shirt, therefore she can't claim a deduction for the cost of the shirt. However, if Danielle had to buy the shirt she could claim a deduction for the cost of it because it's a compulsory uniform.

    As Danielle's trousers, skirts and shoes are of a conventional nature, Danielle can't claim for the cost of buying these. These are private expenses.

    End of example

    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.

    Entertainment and social functions

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of any entertainment, fundraising or social functions. This applies even if they are compulsory, non-compulsory or you discuss work matters at the event. Entertainment and social functions include the cost of:

    • work breakfasts, lunches or dinners
    • attendance at sporting events as a spectator
    • gala or social nights
    • concerts or dances
    • cocktail parties
    • other similar types of functions or events.

    These are private expenses because these events do not have a direct connection to your work duties.

    You also can’t claim the cost of travelling to and from functions.

    Example: entertainment costs

    Rachael attends a social breakfast organised by an IT professional association. The breakfasts held are every other month to encourage IT professionals to meet socially with colleagues.

    Rachael can't claim a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast.

    End of example

    For more IT professional expenses, see:

      Last modified: 24 May 2022QC 26103