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  • Common expenses T–W

    Details on claiming common media professional expenses for:

    Technical or professional publications

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of journals, periodicals and magazines that have content sufficiently connected to your employment as a media professional.

    Tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment if you use them to perform your duties as a media professional – such as video camera, laptop and editing software.

    If a tool or item of equipment cost you $300 or less, and you use it for work only, you can claim a deduction for the whole cost in the year you purchased it. Otherwise, you can claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (that is, depreciation).

    If the item is part of a set that together cost more than $300, you can claim a deduction for the set over the life of the asset.

    If you also use the tool or item of equipment for private purposes, you can only claim the work-related portion.

    If you bought the tool or item of equipment part way through the year, you can only claim a deduction for the portion of the year that you owned it.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of repairs to tools and equipment.

    Example: bag for carrying work equipment

    Maria is employed as a political reporter. Her job requires her to report on current political events online. She regularly attends different locations where ministers are discussing or announcing political changes and is required to take her work laptop and phone so she can report these updates in real time. She buys a bag for $565 that she uses exclusively to carry her work laptop, mobile phone, and chargers. She carries her wallet, personal phone and other personal items in a smaller clutch bag.

    As Maria's bag is used exclusively for work purposes, carries all the items necessary in her role as a political reporter, Maria can claim a deduction for the decline in value of the bag over its effective life.

    End of example

    See also:

    Travel expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur on accommodation, meals and incidentals when you travel for work and are required to sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties. For example, you travel to another state to cover a breaking story.

    You can't claim a deduction for accommodation where you haven't incurred any accommodation expenses, because you:

    • sleep in accommodation provided by your employer
    • are reimbursed for any costs by your employer.

    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:

    • that you were away overnight
    • you spent the money
    • the travel was directly related to earning your employment income
    • how you calculated your claim.

    Each year, we set a reasonable amount for travel expenses. Generally, you're required to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction for travel expenses. However, if you spent and are claiming:

    • a deduction 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.

    Example: travel to attend a meeting

    Beth is a foreign news correspondent for a television network. She travels from her usual workplace in Sydney to London for a three-day meeting with the executive producers and network president. Beth's employer pays for the cost of her flights. Beth incurs the costs for her accommodation, meals and incidental expenses such as taxi fares from her hotel to the meeting venue each day. She receives a travel allowance from her employer that is shown on her income statement.

    Beth includes the amount of the travel allowance as income in her tax return and claims a deduction for the expenses she incurred in attending the meeting.

    As Beth spent more than the Commissioner's reasonable amounts she must keep all of her receipts and documentation for accommodation, meals and incidental expenses she incurred in the course of performing her employment duties.

    End of example

    See also:

    Union and professional association fees

    You can claim a deduction for union and professional association fees you pay. If the amount you paid is shown on your income statement or payment summary, you can use it to prove your claim.

    See also:

    Working from home

    You can claim a deduction for the additional running expenses of an office or a study at home that you use to earn your income as a media professional.

    Running expenses include:

    • decline in value of home office equipment
    • the cost of repairs to your home office furniture and fittings
    • heating, cooling, lighting and cleaning expenses.

    If you are working from home as a result of COVID-19, we have specific information about expenses – see Working from home during COVID-19.

    You can’t claim occupancy expenses, such as rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer paid for your home office to be set up or they reimbursed you for the expense.

    In limited circumstances, you may be able to claim a deduction if your home office is considered to be a 'place of business'. If your only income is paid to you as an employee, you're not considered to be carrying on a business.

    Diary records noting the time the home office was used for work are acceptable evidence of a connection between the use of a home office and your work. You will need to keep diary records during a representative four-week period.

    To work out your home office expenses, you can use the fixed rate method or calculate you actual expenses.

    The Home office expenses calculator helps calculate the amount you can claim as a deduction for home office expenses.

    See also:

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      Last modified: 13 Feb 2020QC 51250