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  • Common expenses T–W

    Details on claiming common performing artist expenses for:

    Theatre and film tickets

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of theatre and film tickets if the show has content directly related to your current work. You can't claim the cost of tickets for shows you attend for general interest, entertainment or other private purposes.

    Tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment you use to perform your duties as an employee performing artist. For example, guitars, speakers, lights and microphones.

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

    If the tool or equipment cost you $300 or less, you can claim a deduction for the full amount in the year you buy, it:

    • you use it mainly for work purposes
    • it's not part of a set that together cost more than $300.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (that is, decline in value), if the tool or equipment:

    • cost more than $300
    • is part of a set that together cost more than $300.

    If you bought the tool or item of equipment part way through the year, you can only claim a deduction for the decline in value for the period of the income year that you owned it.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of repairs to tools and equipment that you use for work purposes.

    You can't claim a deduction for tools and equipment that your employer or a third-party supplies for use.

    See also:

    Travel expenses

    You can claim a deduction for expenses you incur when your work requires you to both:

    • travel for work
    • sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties.

    Expenses you can claim include your accommodation, meals and expenses which are incidental to the travel (incidentals). For example, travelling interstate to shoot an advertisement.

    You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you don't incur any expenses, because:

    • you slept in accommodation your employer provides
    • you eat meals your employer provides
    • your employer or a third party reimburses you for any costs you incur.

    Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn't automatically mean you can claim a deduction. In all cases, you must be able to show:

    • you were away overnight
    • you spent the money
    • the travel directly relates to earning your employment income
    • how you work out your claim.

    If you receive a travel allowance you must include it as assessable income in your tax return unless all of the following apply:

    • the travel allowance is not shown on your income statement or payment summary
    • the travel allowance doesn't exceed the Commissioner's reasonable amount
    • you spent the whole allowance on deductible accommodation, meal and incidental expenses, if applicable.

    The Commissioner's reasonable amount is set each year. The amount is only used to determine whether an exception from keeping written evidence applies for the following expenses which are covered by a travel allowance:

    • accommodation
    • meal
    • incidentals.

    You don’t have to keep written evidence such as receipts if both of the following apply:

    • you received a travel allowance from your employer for the expenses
    • your deduction is less than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    If you claim a deduction for more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount you need to keep receipts for all expenses, not just for the amount over the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    Even if you are not required to keep written evidence such as receipts, you must be able to explain your claim and show you spent the amounts.

    Example: reasonable allowance amount and no deduction claimed

    Khalid is employed as a performer in a touring production of a children's ice-skating musical. He travels from his home base of Adelaide to Melbourne, then Sydney, then Brisbane, then Perth and home to Adelaide with the tour. The total time he is employed on tour is 78 days. Khalid's employer organises and pays for his flights between cities. His employer pays him a travel allowance of $255 per night for accommodation, meals and incidentals. The allowance isn't shown on his income statement.

    The travel allowance amount paid to Khalid is less than the reasonable allowance amount and he spends all the travel allowance on his travel expenses.

    Khalid chooses not to include his allowance on his tax return because:

    • it's less than the reasonable allowance amount
    • it's not shown on his income statement
    • he spends it all to cover his travel expenses.

    This means Khalid can't claim a deduction for his expenses on his tax return.

    End of example


    Example: less than the reasonable amount with deduction claimed

    Veronique is employed by an opera company to perform in the major capital cities in their latest nationwide production. Veronique's employer pays for all the airfares and accommodation expenses. Veronique is paid an allowance for meals and incidentals of $375 per week while she is on tour. The total allowance of $8,250 for the 22 weeks of the tour is shown on her income statement.

    Veronique spends less than the reasonable amount for meals and incidentals per day so she can claim a deduction for the amount she actually spent, and she isn't required to get and keep receipts for the expenses. However, if asked, she would be still required to show how she calculated her claim and that she had spent money on meals and incidentals.

    Veronique can’t claim anything for accommodation because her employer paid for it.

    End of example

    See also:

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

    Union and professional association fees

    You can claim a deduction for union and professional association fees you pay. You can use your income statement as evidence of the amount you pay if it's shown on there.

    See also:

    For more performing artists expenses, see:

    Find out about performing artists':

      Last modified: 19 Feb 2021QC 51260