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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common media professional expenses for:

    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).

    You also can't claim a deduction when using a badged or unbadged vehicle provided by your employer, unless you were using the vehicle to perform your work duties and you covered the cost of fuel. You can't claim a deduction if your employer reimburses you for any costs.

    You can 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 job with a newspaper to your second job as a TV presenter
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, if you need to conduct an interview with a source at a location external from your workplace or driving between two TV studios.

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

    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 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’.

    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, business attire worn by media professionals.

    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, 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 is clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person associated with a particular profession, trade or occupation (for example a judge's robes or a chef's chequered pants). 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: compulsory uniform with logo

    Mike is a cameraman with a television network. His employer provides him with polo shirts with the network's logo on it that he is required to wear when performing work duties. He is also required to wear plain black pants and enclosed shoes to maintain a professional appearance. Mike can't claim a deduction for his work polo shirts as these are supplied by his employer and Mike doesn't incur any cost for these.

    Mike also can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning his black pants and shoes as they are conventional clothes.

    Mike can however, 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.
    End of example


    Example: conventional clothing

    Lena is a radio presenter and wears her everyday clothing to work. Her employer has a dress code for all staff to follow when performing their work duties.

    Lena can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning the clothes because they are private in nature.

    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.

    Entertainment and social functions

    You can claim a deduction for the cost you incur, if as a media professional you are required to attend a social function such as a dinner or similar event and perform work duties.

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

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

    These are private expenses because these events don't have a direct connection to your work duties.

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

    Example: entertainment costs deductible

    Edwina, a reporter for a major magazine, is responsible for the magazine's social and society pages. In order to gather the necessary information for her articles, she is required to attend a number of social functions each year, regarded as important to city socialites.

    Edwina can claim a deduction for the cost of attending these functions due to the specialised nature of her work as a media professional.

    End of example


    Example: entertainment costs not deductible

    Rachael incurs the expense to attend a media professional's breakfast function that is held quarterly to encourage media professionals to meet socially and network with colleagues. Rachael can't claim a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast.

    End of example

    First aid courses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you are both:

    • a designated first aid person
    • need to complete a first aid training course to assist in emergency work situations.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for the cost of the course.

    For more media professionals' expenses, see:

      Last modified: 19 Feb 2021QC 51250