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  • Common expenses G–O

    Details on claiming common paramedic expenses for:

    Glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses

    You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses, even if you need to wear them while working. These are private expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective glasses if you wear them to reduce the real and likely risk of illness or injury while working as a paramedic. Protective glasses include anti-glare or photochromatic glasses, sunglasses, safety glasses or goggles.

    You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.

    See also:

    Grooming expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even though:

    • you may be paid an allowance for grooming
    • your employer expects you to be well groomed when at work.

    All grooming expenses and products are private expenses.

    Laundry and maintenance

    You can claim a deduction for the cost you incur to wash, dry and iron your paramedic uniform. This includes laundromat and dry-cleaning expenses.

    We consider that a reasonable basis for working out your laundry claim is:

    • $1 per load if it only contains clothing you wear at work
    • 50c per load if you mix personal items of clothing with work clothing.

    You can claim the actual costs you incur for repairing and dry-cleaning expenses.

    If your laundry claim (excluding dry-cleaning expenses) is $150 or less, you don't need to keep records but you will still need to calculate and be able to show how you worked out your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.

    See also:

    Massage expenses

    You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of massage or other alternative therapies. These are private expenses.

    Meal and snack expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drinks or snacks you consume during your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. This includes meals you buy with an allowance you receive:

    • to compensate you for the cost of buying a meal on a regular working day away from your usual place of work
    • because you were required to work for five consecutive hours without receiving a meal break
    • when you are called back to duty before having eaten a meal during a meal break – for example, a spoilt or broken meal allowance.

    These are private expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of a replacement meal you buy where you:

    • are called out to a job prior to completing your meal break
    • buy the replacement meal during your shift.

    You must have a written record such as a receipt to show what you bought, when, where, and how much you spent.

    See also:

    Example: no deduction for meal

    Arisva is a paramedic. She commences work at 10.00pm and works through until 6.00am the following morning. During her shift she has a meal break and buys a meal. The cost of Arisva's meal is not deductible. It is a private expense.

    End of example


    Example: allowance received but no deduction for meal

    Keran is a retrieval paramedic. He commences work at 2.00pm and due to being called out, he does not get a meal break until 8.00pm the same evening. As he has worked for more than five consecutive hours without a meal break, Keran receives an allowance of $4.24. This allowance is shown on his income statement at the end of the income year.

    During his meal break, Keran buys a meal for $12.80. Keran is required to declare the allowance in his income but he can't claim a deduction for the cost of his meal. The meal is purchased and consumed during Keran's ordinary working hours and is private. The receipt of an allowance doesn't change this.

    End of example

    Medical expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for medical expenses. This is a private expense.

    Newspapers and other news services, magazines and professional publications

    The cost of newspapers, other news services and magazines are generally private expenses and not deductible.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying or subscribing to a professional publication, newspaper, news service or magazine if you can show:

    • a direct connection between your specific work duties and the content
    • the content is specific to your employment and is not general in nature.

    If you use the publication for work and private purposes, you can only claim the portion related to your work-related use.

    Overtime meal expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime, if all of the following apply:

    • you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement
    • the allowance is on your income statement as a separate allowance
    • you include the allowance in your tax return as income.

    You can't claim a deduction if the allowance is part of your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your income statement.

    You generally need to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction. However, each year we set an amount you can claim for overtime meal expenses without receipts. This is called the 'reasonable amount'. If you receive an overtime meal allowance, are claiming a deduction and spent:

    • up to 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 need to be able to show:

    • you spent the money
    • how you worked out your claim.

    Example: meal allowance not an overtime meal allowance

    Ailee is a paramedic. Ten times during the year Ailee returns to work to attend emergency situations before eating her meal during her meal break. Each time she receives an allowance of $16 to compensate her return to duty before eating. Although she receives the allowance under an award, it isn't to enable Ailee to buy a meal during overtime.

    If Aliee replaces her spoilt meals while at work, she can't claim a deduction. These meals are during ordinary working hours so are a private expense.

    End of example


    Example: deduction for overtime meal

    On 20 occasions during the year Randy is asked to work overtime after completing his normal shift. He is given a meal break and paid a meal allowance of $20 under the award for each occasion he works overtime. Randy generally buys and eats a meal costing $15 during his overtime.

    At the end of the income year, Randy's income statement shows that he received an overtime meal allowance of $400 (20 × $20).

    In his tax return, Randy shows the allowance of $400 as income and claims a deduction of $15 × 20 = $300, that is, the amount he spent on his overtime meals.

    As the amount Randy spent on his meals is less than the reasonable amount, Randy doesn't have to keep receipts. However, if asked, Randy will have to be able to show that he spent the $300 on overtime meals and how he calculated his claim.

    End of example

    See also:

    • Overtime meals
    • TD 2020/5 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2020-21 income year?

    For more paramedic expenses, see:

      Last modified: 22 Feb 2021QC 61083