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  • 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, even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours. These are private expenses.

    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 are essential for the performance of your employment duties.
    • The tools or equipment are 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.

    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 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, from your rehearsal for a musical production directly to your second job as a dance teacher
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from a costume fitting directly to the commercial shoot.

    You can't claim any car expenses relating to a car owned or leased by someone else, including your employer or another member of your family.

    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 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.

    Example: transporting equipment

    Andre is a street performer. His employer doesn't supply a secure area at his workplace for his performance equipment, so he must transport his equipment to and from work every day.

    Andre can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to transport equipment between his home and work as:

    • there is no secure place to store his equipment at his work place
    • the equipment is bulky
    • the equipment is essential to Andre's performance.
    End of example


    Example: storage is available

    Jocelyn is a theatre director where secure storage is available for her equipment. Jocelyn chooses to transport equipment to and from work every day, instead of leaving them in the secure storage room provided.

    Jocelyn can't claim a deduction for transporting her equipment to and from work as she has made a personal choice to transport her equipment

    End of example

    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, costumes, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's:

    • protective clothing and footwear that provides you a sufficient degree of protection from the risk of illness or injury posed by your income-earning activities or the environment in which you carry them out
    • 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.

    For example, a burlesque dancer can claim stage make-up, costumes and dance shoes that are distinctive to their role as a performer.

    Clothing in a specific colour or brand isn't enough to classify clothing as a uniform. A uniform must identify you as an employee of your employer's organisation. For example, a shirt with the corporate logo on it that your employer strictly requires you to wear when you work or that is registered with AusIndustry is a uniform. You can claim a deduction for buying and repairing 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 – for example, general exercise clothing for rehearsal or running shoes. You can't claim for:

    • heavy duty conventional clothing such as jeans and black trousers
    • running shoes or casual shoes.

    These are private expenses. You can’t claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for these 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 buying or cleaning these items as they are items of a conventional nature, even if his manager tells him to wear it.

    End of example


    Example: occupation-specific clothing

    Anna is a burlesque dancer and is required to wear a costume with specific shoes when performing. Anna is required to buy the costume and shoes, and isn't reimbursed by her employer.

    Anna can claim the costume and shoes as they aren't conventional items that she would normally wear, these items are distinctive and relevant to her role.

    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 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 you incur to attend 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 can't claim a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast.

    End of example

    For more performing artists expenses, see:

      Last modified: 04 May 2020QC 51260