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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 employee performing artist.

    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 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 performing artist expenses for:

    Agents fees

    You can claim a deduction for commissions paid to theatrical agents. You can't claim a deduction for upfront or joining fees.

    Audition expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of preparing for or attending auditions, as they are incurred in getting work rather than doing work.

    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, if you need to go to another theatre for a rehearsal or travelling between two studios.

    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: conventional clothing

    Mike, a stage manager, has to wear a black shirt, black pants and black shoes. There's no employer logo on any of the items.

    Mike can't claim the cost of purchasing or cleaning these items as they are items of a conventional nature, even if his manager tells him to wear it.

    End of example

    See also:

    Entertainment expenses and social functions

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of any entertainment. This includes the cost of attendance at award nights, gala or social nights, concerts or other similar types of functions or events. This applies even if there's an entertainment industry connection.

    You can't claim a deduction for costs incurred in attending compulsory or non- compulsory functions. This includes functions such as dinners, dances and cocktail parties. These expenses are considered to be private and not sufficiently related to the production of income. The cost of travelling to and from functions is also not deductible.

    Example: entertainment costs

    Rachael attends a social breakfast organised by a theatre company. These breakfasts are held every other month to encourage performing artists within the region to meet socially. Rachael isn't entitled to a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast.

    End of example

    For more performing artists expenses, see:

      Last modified: 11 Apr 2019QC 51260