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  • Deductions

    You may be able to claim deductions for your work-related expenses. Work-related expenses are expenses you incur on items used to earn your income as an office worker.

    To claim a deduction for a work-related expense:

    • you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
    • it must be directly related to earning your income
    • you must have a record to prove it (usually a receipt).

    If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

    You can use the ATO app's myDeductions tool to help keep track of your work-related expenses. It’s an easy way to capture information on-the-go and makes tax time quicker by uploading your deductions to your tax return.

    For a summary of common deductions for

    Or, for a detailed list to help you work out if your expense is deductible, and how much you can claim, see:

    Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common office worker expenses for:

    Car expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the normal trips between your home and work. These are private expenses even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of using your car when you're travelling for work. For example, when you:

    • drive between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling to a second job with another employer
    • drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, driving between offices for the same employer.

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

    You must keep records of your car use. If you drive a car you can choose between the cents per kilometre method or the logbook method to calculate your deduction. If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a logbook to help you determine the percentage of work-related use of your car. If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to provide a calculation of your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

    If you own a motorcycle, or a vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or nine passengers or more you can deduct your actual expenses.

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for child care that you pay for when you're working. It's a private expense.

    Clothing expenses (including footwear)

    You can claim a deduction for the cost you incur when you buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's:

    • protective
    • occupation specific (and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing)
    • a uniform.

    To claim a deduction for the cost of a uniform it must be unique, distinctive and compulsory to wear. Clothing in a specific colour or brand isn't enough to classify clothing as a uniform. For example, a shirt with the corporate logo on it that you must wear when you work is a uniform, so you can get a deduction for buying it.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it. You can't claim for:

    • heavy duty conventional clothing such as jeans, drill shirts and trousers
    • running shoes or casual shoes.

    These are private expenses.

    Example: compulsory uniform with logo

    Mike has to wear shirts his employer provides. Each shirt has his employer's company logo embroidered on it. As part of his uniform, he also has to wear black pants and black shoes.

    Mike can 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.

    However, he can't claim the cost of purchasing or cleaning his black pants or shoes as they are items of a conventional nature.

    End of example

     

    Example: conventional clothing

    Lena wears a business suit to work. It's not compulsory for a staff member to wear a business suit, but the employer encourages staff members to do so.

    Lena can't claim a deduction for the cost of purchasing or cleaning these items because they are private in nature, even if her employer tells her to wear them.

    End of example

    See also:

    Entertainment expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of any entertainment. This includes the cost of business lunches and attendance at sporting events, gala or social nights, concerts or other similar types of functions or events. This applies even if you discuss business matters at the occasion.

    Example: entertainment costs

    Rachael attends a social breakfast organised by a professional association. These breakfasts are held every other month to encourage office professionals to meet socially with colleagues. Rachael isn't entitled to a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast.

    End of example

    For more office workers' expenses, see:

      Last modified: 15 May 2019QC 18955