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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common paramedic 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).

    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 or where you had shifting places of employment.

    To be able to claim a deduction for the cost of trips between home and work while carrying bulky tools or equipment, all the following conditions must be met:

    • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties
    • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that
      • because of the size and weight, they are awkward to transport, and
      • can only be transported conveniently using a motor vehicle
    • there is no secure storage for such items at the workplace.

    It will not be sufficient if you transport the tools or equipment merely as a matter of choice. For example, if your employer provides reasonably secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

    You are considered to have shifting places of employment where you have no fixed place of work and you continually travel from one work site to another.

    You can also 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, from your job as a paramedic to your second job as a first aid trainer
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from your ambulance station to a meeting in head office
    • from home directly to an alternate workplace – for example, travelling from home to work at a station other than your normal station for the day.

    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 logbook method or the cents per kilometre 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.

    To claim a deduction in your tax return, include the amount of your claim at ‘Work-related car expenses’. The Work-related car expenses calculator can help you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction.

    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’.

    Example: home to work not deductible

    Ursula works as an intensive care paramedic. She isn't based at a particular station. When someone is unavailable for work, Ursula is called into work at that ambulance station. She doesn't travel to any other ambulance stations during the day.

    While she may not know where she is going to work each day, she will only ever work at one location for the day.

    Ursula can't claim a deduction for cost of her travel between her home and the station she drives to each time she is called in for duty. The expenses are private.

    End of example

    For more detailed information, see:

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for 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, jeans and a t-shirt, or business attire.

    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.

    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.

    You can claim a deduction for additional costs you incur to get a special licence or condition on your licence to perform your work duties – for example, a heavy vehicle permit.

    Entertainment and social functions

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of any entertainment, fundraising or social functions. 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 do not have a direct connection to your income-producing activities.

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

    Example: entertainment costs

    Evan attends a social breakfast organised by the Ambulance Union. These breakfasts are held every other month to encourage paramedics within the region to meet socially with colleagues.

    Evan can't claim a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast.

    End of example

    Fines and penalties

    You can't claim a deduction for any fines you get when you travel to work or during work. Fines may include, parking fines and speeding fines, or penalties.

    Fitness expenses

    You generally can’t claim gym and fitness expenses (such as skipping ropes, weights and other fitness equipment) even if you need to pass medical examinations and fitness tests to maintain your employment for your role. These are private expenses except in very limited circumstances.

    You can claim a deduction in very limited circumstances, where your role requires you have an extremely high level of fitness. This will be the case where your role requires you to both:

    • maintain an extremely high level of fitness well above the general occupation standard
    • perform ongoing strenuous physical activities as an essential and regular part of your role.

    You can’t in any circumstances claim a deduction for expenses you incur to buy conventional clothing you use in the course of keeping fit. This includes tracksuits, running or aerobic shoes, socks, sporting shirts or shorts.

    Example: maintaining high level fitness

    Joffrey is a special operations paramedic. He is trained in a range of skills including abseiling, water rescue, breathing apparatus operations, structural collapse and navigation. In his role he provides intensive care to patients in hostile environments, including caves, canyons, bushfires and floods. Joffrey regularly attends a commercial gym to ensure that he can perform his specific duties.

    Joffrey's fitness expenses for the year include gym fees and the cost of a tracksuit. As Joffrey's ordinary duties require regular strenuous physical activity, he can deduct his gym fees, but not the cost of the tracksuit. The tracksuit is conventional clothing, so the expense is private.

    If Joffrey was a general duties paramedic, he would not be able to claim a deduction for his gym fees. Although he is required to maintain a standard level of fitness, his role would not involve strenuous, ongoing physical activity. In these circumstances Joffrey's expenses would be private.

    End of example

    For more paramedic expenses, see:

      Last modified: 22 Feb 2021QC 61083