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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common performing artist expenses for:

    Pay television and streaming services

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of pay television or streaming services such as Foxtel or Netflix. This is a private expense

    Phone and internet expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the phone and internet costs associated with the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.

    You need to keep records to show a detailed pattern of your work use if you claim more than $50 on phone and internet expenses.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer provides you with a phone for work and pays for the usage, or if your employer reimburses you for the costs.

    You can't claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while travelling for work. This is because they aren't work-related calls.

    Example: calculating phone expenses

    Sebastian uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

    He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month that includes details of his individual calls.

    At least once a year, Sebastian prints out his account and highlights the work-related calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is calling for work – for example, his manager and his clients.

    Out of the 300 calls he has made in a four-week period, Sebastian works out that 150 (50%) of the individual call expenses billed to him are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

    He works out his calls for work purposes as follows:

    Total work calls ÷ Total number of calls = Work use percentage for calls

    150 ÷ 300 = 50%

    Sebastian can claim 50% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, that is:

    $49 × 0.50 = $24.50

    Since Sebastian was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    10.6 months × $24.50 = $259.70

    End of example


    Example: work and private use

    Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and do research for her roles. Sylvette uses her computer and the internet for work and private purposes.

    Sylvette's internet use diary showed 40% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 60% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

    $1,200 × 0.40 = $480 as work-related internet use.

    End of example

    See also:


    You can claim a deduction for the cost of maintaining a photographic portfolio for publicity purposes. You can't claim a deduction for the initial cost of preparing the portfolio.

    Repairs to tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes, you can only claim the work-related portion.

    Research expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of researching a role or character that you have been employed to play – for example, the cost of reference material containing information on a character, era or event.

    This includes the ‘time usage cost’ of researching on the internet, including the work-related portion of the service provider’s recurrent costs or costs associated with accessing secure internet sites.

    You'll need to show that you're required to access the internet as part of your work.

    Self-education and study expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education and study expenses if it's directly related to your current employment as an employee performing artist and it:

    • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties – for example, you are a paid acoustic performer and bass singer, taking a structured course for tenors to expand your vocal ability
    • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment – for example, you can’t claim your Diploma of musical theatre if you are working as a bartender.

    You can't claim a deduction if the self-education or study course:

    • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
    • only relates in a general way to your current employment or profession
    • enables you to get employment or change employment.

    Self-education expenses include fees, travel expenses (for example, attending a lecture interstate), transport costs, books and equipment. You usually have to reduce your self-education expenses by $250 – that is, the first $250 of expenses for self-education aren't deductible.

    Example: study directly relevant to employment

    Ahmed is employed as a stage actor in a Shakespearean theatre. He is attending coaching classes for fencing and vocal training.

    Ahmed can claim a deduction for his study expenses because his study is improving his performing skills and is clearly relevant to his employment.

    End of example


    Example: study to improve skills for a current job

    Carmel is an actor in the state theatre company. She is attending acrobat lessons for use in a specific role she is performing in.

    Carmel can claim her self-education expenses for these lessons because these lessons will maintain and improve the skills and knowledge she needs to perform her current duties.

    End of example

    See also:

    Self-education and study and training support loans

    You can't claim the repayment of loans you receive to help pay for your self-education or study expenses. This includes:

    • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans
    • VET Student Loans (VETSL)
    • the Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
    • the Student Start-up Loans (SSL)
    • the Trade Support Loan Program (TSL)

    You may be able to claim a deduction for course or tuition fees where the self-education expenses are directly related to your current employment as a performing artist.

    See also:

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as an employee performing artist.

    For more performing artists expenses, see:

      Last modified: 04 May 2020QC 51260