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  • 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, even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours. These are private expenses. For example, you work late to speak to a colleague in a different time zone.

    In limited circumstances you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work. You can claim a deduction for the cost of these trips if all of the following conditions are met:

    • The tools or equipment you carry are essential for the performance of your employment duties.
    • The equipment is bulky, meaning that because of its size or weight it is awkward to transport and can only be transported conveniently by motor vehicle.
    • There is no secure storage for such items at the workplace.

    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 to your second job as a musician
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling to a different office to attend a meeting for the same employer.

    To claim a deduction you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the logbook method or cents per kilometre method to calculate your deduction.

    If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to help you determine the percentage of work-related use along with evidence of your car expenses.

    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.

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

    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 the actual expenses related to your work travel.

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for child care 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 clothing and footwear that provides a sufficient degree of protection against the risk of injury or illness posed by the activities you undertake to earn your income
    • occupation specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing
    • a compulsory uniform that identifies you as an employee of an organisation with a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while you're at work
    • a non-compulsory uniform, if your employer has registered the design with AusIndustry.

    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 your employer strictly requires you to wear when you work is a compulsory uniform. You can claim a deduction for buying and repairing it.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying plain clothing, such as black trousers, plain shirts or black shoes worn at work, even if

    • you only wear it to work
    • your employer tells you to wear it.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer buys, repairs or replaces your clothing, footwear or protective clothing.

    Example: compulsory uniform with logo

    Mika is an office assistant and is required to wear shirts her employer has designed with the company logo embroidered on it. Mika buys two shirts from her employer. As part of her uniform, she also has to wear plain black pants and black shoes.

    Mika can claim a deduction for the cost of buying the shirts as they are:

    • distinctive items with the employer's logo
    • compulsory for her to wear at work.

    However, she can't claim the cost of buying the 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 buying or cleaning these items because they are private in nature, even if her employer tells her to wear them.

    End of example

    See also:

    Driver's licence

    You can't claim a deduction for obtaining or renewing 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'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 can't claim a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast even though her employer encourages staff to attend.

    End of example

    For more office workers' expenses, see:

      Last modified: 04 May 2020QC 18955