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  • Common expenses O–P

    Details on claiming common media professional expenses for:

    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 your expenses.

    In all cases, you must be able to show:

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

    See also:

    • Overtime meals
    • TD 2019/11 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime amounts for the 2019–20 income year?

    Pay TV and streaming services

    You can claim a deduction for the work-related portion of pay TV or streaming service access payments if you can show that you're required to access pay TV or the streaming service as part of your work duties. The amount of the deduction is limited to the content that is specific to earning your income.

    Phone and internet expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the phone and internet costs associated with the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.

    You need to keep records to show your work use if you claim more than $50 on phone and internet expenses.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer provides you with a phone for work and pays for the usage, or if your employer reimburses you for the costs.

    You can't claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while travelling for work. This is because they aren't work-related calls.

    Example: calculating phone expenses

    Sebastian uses his mobile phone for work purposes (mainly outgoing calls). He is on a set plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

    He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month that includes details of his individual calls.

    At least once a year, Sebastian prints out his account and highlights the work-related calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is calling for work – for example, his manager and his clients.

    Out of the 300 calls he has made in a four-week period, Sebastian works out that 90 (30%) of the individual call expenses billed to him are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

    He works out his calls for work purposes as follows:

    Total work calls ÷ Total number of calls = Work use percentage for calls

    90 ÷ 300 = 30%

    Sebastian can claim 10% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, that is:

    $49 × 0.30 = $14.70

    Sebastian worked for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), so he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    10.6 months × $14.70 = $155.82

    End of example


    Example: work and private use

    Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and complete research for her work. Sylvette uses her computer and the internet for both work and private purposes.

    Sylvette keeps a diary for a four week period, recording the times she used the internet for work and private purposes. Sylvette's diary shows 40% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 60% was for private purposes. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

    $1,200 × 40% = $480 as work-related internet use.

    End of example

    See also:

    For more media professionals' expenses, see:

      Last modified: 13 Feb 2020QC 51250