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  • Common expenses G–O

    Details on claiming common lawyer expenses for:

    Glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses

    You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses. These are private expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of anti-glare glasses if you wear them to reduce the risk of illness or injury while working as a lawyer.

    See also:

    Gifts and greeting cards

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of gifts and greeting cards you buy for clients. This is a private expense.


    You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even though you may be paid an allowance for grooming and be expected to be well groomed. All grooming products are private expenses.

    Insurance expenses

    Insurance expenses aren't work-related expenses; however, you may still be able to claim a deduction for:

    • insurance premiums you pay to cover yourself for loss of employment income
    • the cost of professional indemnity insurance.

    Example: apportioned deduction

    Dee takes out an income protection and personal injury policy through her insurer. She pays $250 a month, $175 of this is for the income protection cover and $75 is for the personal injury cover. Dee can claim $175 a month for the insurance policy. The remaining $75 is not deductible, because it is capital in nature.

    End of example

    Example: when professional indemnity insurance is not deductible

    Ezra is required to have professional indemnity insurance in his role as a lawyer. As part of his salary package, his employer has agreed to pay his insurance each year he is employed at the firm. As Ezra didn't incur the expense he is unable to claim a deduction.

    End of example

    See also:

    Laundry and maintenance

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of washing and drying clothing you wear at work, if it's:

    • protective
    • occupation specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing
    • a uniform either non-compulsory and registered with AusIndustry or compulsory.

    This also includes laundromat and dry cleaning expenses.

    If your claim for laundry expenses (excluding dry-cleaning expenses) is more than $150 and your total claim for work-related expenses is more than $300 you need to keep records or written evidence of your expenses. This isn't an automatic deduction.

    Example: deductible compulsory uniform

    Angela is employed as a lawyer in a legal firm. Her employer requires that she purchases shirts with the company logo to be worn at work. She is also required to comply with dress standards and wear smart black pants or a skirt.

    Angela can claim a deduction for the purchase and laundering of her work shirts as the logo makes them unique and distinctive to the organisation where she works.

    Angela can't claim a deduction for her work pants and skirts even though she only wears them to work. Black pants and skirts without a logo or other distinctive feature are not unique to the organisation.

    Angela works for 40 weeks of the financial year and washes her shirts twice a week in a mixed load with other clothes. As Angela washes her uniform in a mixed load she can claim an expense of 50 cents per load of laundry where her uniform is included in the wash.

    Angela calculates her laundry claim as follows:

    2 × 40 weeks × $0.50 per load = $40.

    End of example

    Example: conventional clothing not deductible

    Gavin is employed as a solicitor in a law firm. As part of his work duties, Gavin meets with clients and attends court hearings. Gavin is expected to maintain a professional appearance so he buys business shirts and suits that he only wears to work.

    Even though Gavin wears these items to work, he can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or laundering of the shirts and suits he purchases, as they are conventional clothes and not occupation specific, protective or a uniform.

    End of example

    See also:

    Meal and snack expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume in the course of your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. These are private expenses.

    See also:

    Example: purchasing food at work

    Scarlett is a paralegal and works evenings drafting documents and conducting legal research. She gets a long break at 6pm when she buys dinner, and she usually buys some peanuts and water to snack on throughout her shift.

    Scarlett can't claim a deduction for the snacks or evening meal. The cost of the food and drink she has bought is private and has no relevant connection to her employment activities.

    End of example

    Overtime meal expenses

    If you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement, and it's included in your assessable income, you can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime.

    You can't claim a deduction if your overtime meal allowance is rolled into your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your income statement or payment summary.

    You are generally required to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction for overtime meal expenses. However, each year we set a reasonable amount you can claim for overtime meal expenses without receipts. If you receive an overtime meal allowance, are claiming a deduction and spent:

    • up to the reasonable amount, you don't have to get and keep receipts
    • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for all your expenses.

    In all cases, you need to be able to show:

    • you spent the money
    • how you calculated your claim.

    Example: overtime meal

    Moana normally works an eight-hour shift, during the preparation for a case she is asked to work for an additional three hours to complete some research. Moana is given a meal break and paid a meal allowance of $20 under her enterprise agreement.

    Moana buys and eats a meal costing her $21 during her overtime. Moana can claim a deduction for $21 as the amount she spent on the meal she eats while on duty for extended hours is incurred in earning her employment income.

    End of example

    See also:

    For more lawyer expenses:

      Last modified: 04 May 2020QC 51251