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  • Common expenses G–O

    Details on claiming common performing artist expenses for:

    Gifts

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of gifts such as flowers or alcohol for fellow performers, producers or directors. These are private expenses.

    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 tinted contact lenses to alter eye colour or special spectacle frames if it's required for a role.

    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 an employee performing artist. 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 claim a deduction for the cost of:

    • a particular hairstyle if it's required for a role
    • hairdressing specifically to maintain a required hair length or style as part of a costume for continuity purposes
    • stage makeup, including the cost of cleansing materials for removing stage makeup.

    You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products not relating to your role or costume, 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 not relating to your role or costume are private expenses.

    Example: grooming costs

    Benji is an actor and is shooting a movie. He is required to grow his hair and dye it dark brown for the movie. Benji is particular about his hairdresser and won't use the hairdresser provided by his employer. He pays for his personal hairdresser to cut and dye his hair according to the movie specifications. Benji is not reimbursed by his employer.

    He can claim the costs of his hairdresser as the hairdressing is particular to his role.

    End of example

     

    Example: can't claim grooming costs

    Kate is a singer who performs in the weekends at local restaurants. Kate likes to look professional and pays a professional make-up artist before each performance. She also gets a spray tan each fortnight.

    Kate can't claim a deduction for these expenses. They are private expenses that are not essential to her employment duties.

    End of example

    Home office expenses

    You may be able to claim a deduction for expenses you incur as an employee working from home. These can be additional running expenses such as electricity, the decline in value of equipment or furniture, phone and internet expenses.

    You can only claim a deduction for the additional running costs you incur as a result of working from home. For example, if you work in your lounge room when others are also present, you can't claim the cost of lighting and heating or cooling. This is because there is no additional cost for those expenses as a result of working from home.

    There are some expenses you can't claim a deduction for as an employee. Employees who work at home can't claim costs:

    • for coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may provide you at work
    • for your children and their education including
      • setting them up for online learning
      • teaching them at home
      • buying equipment such as iPads and desks
       
    • your employer pays for or reimburses you for the expense
    • for the decline in value of items provided by your employer – for example, a laptop or a phone.

    There are several methods you can use to work out your home office expenses. The methods you can use depend on your circumstances. You must meet the record keeping requirements and working criteria to use each method.

    You generally can’t claim occupancy expenses (rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums), unless your home is your 'place of business'. This occurs where your home office is both:

    • your principal place of work because no other work location is provided by your employer
    • exclusively or almost exclusively used for work purposes.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer paid for your home office to be set up or they reimbursed you for the expense.

    The Home office expenses calculator helps you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction for home office expenses.

    See also:

    • PS LA 2001/6 Verification approaches for home office and electronic device expenses
    • TR 93/30 Income tax: deductions for home office expenses
    • PCG 2020/3 Claiming deductions for additional running expenses incurred whilst working from home due to COVID-19
    • Home office expenses

    Laundry and maintenance

    You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur to wash, dry and iron clothing you wear at work if it's:

    • protective (for example, a hi-vis jacket)
    • occupation specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing such as jeans or general business attire
    • a uniform either non-compulsory and registered with AusIndustry or compulsory.

    This also 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 from one of the categories above
    • 50c per load if you mix personal items of clothing with work clothing from one of the categories above..

    You can claim the actual costs you incurred 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:

    Meal and snack expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume during your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. These are private expenses.

    See also:

    Multimedia

    You can claim a deduction for the work-related part of the cost of multimedia, if it's directly related to your current employment as an employee performing artist. For example, you can claim a deduction for downloading music files used for rehearsals.

    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 not shown 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 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 the reasonable amount, you don't have to get and keep receipts
    • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for all your expenses.

    In all cases, you need to be able to show:

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

    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 performing artists expenses, see:

      Last modified: 19 Feb 2021QC 51260