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  • Police officer – income and work-related deductions

    If you earn your income as a police officer, this guide will help you work out what:

    • income and allowances to report
    • you can and can't claim as a work-related deduction
    • records you need to keep.

    We consider you to be a police officer if your employment is with the Australian Federal Police or the State or Territory Police Departments as a warranted law employee. Other employees should consider whether this guide applies to them or whether another guide, such as Office workers - income and work-related deductions, may be more appropriate.

    Find out about police officers:

    Income – salary and allowances

    Include all the income you receive as a Police officer during the income year in your tax return, regardless of when you earn it, including:

    Don't include reimbursements.

    Your income statement or a payment summary will show all your salary, wages and allowances for the income year.

    Salary and wages

    You must include your salary and wages as income in your tax return. Include any bonuses.

    Allowances

    Include all allowances shown on your income statement or payment summary as income in your tax return.

    While all allowances you receive from your employer are income, you can't always claim a deduction if you receive an allowance – it depends on the situation.

    If you can claim a deduction, the amount of the deduction is not usually the same amount as the allowance you receive.

    Allowance types, reasons and deductibility

    Reason for allowance

    Example of allowance type

    Deduction (Yes or No)

    Compensation for an aspect of your work that is unpleasant, special or dangerous

    Underwater diving duties

    No

    These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses

    Compensation for industry peculiarities

    Living and working in a remote area

    No

    These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses

    An amount for certain expenses

    Meal allowance when you travel for work

    Yes

    If you incur deductible expenses

    An amount for special skills

    A first aid certificate

    Yes

    If you incur deductible expenses

     

    Example: allowance is assessable income, no deduction allowable

    Mario is a police officer. He transfers to a station that is over 200 kilometres from where he currently lives and works. Mario's employer pays him a relocation allowance to cover the cost of moving closer to his new station.

    Mario's employer report the relocation allowance on his income statement at the end of the income year.

    Mario must include the relocation allowance as income in his tax return.

    Mario can't claim a deduction for the relocation expenses he incurs. The expenses are private and domestic in nature.

    End of example

     

    Example: allowance is assessable income, deduction allowable

    Bronwyn is a police officer. During the income year, Bronwyn uses her own vehicle to travel:

    • from the station to the Academy to attend training
    • to drop off documents to the Police Prosecutor's office
    • to attend meetings at other stations.

    Bronwyn's employer pays her 50 cents per kilometre when she uses her car for work purposes. At the end of the year, her income statement shows she was paid an allowance of $160 for using her car for work (320 kms × 50 cents).

    Bronwyn must include the car allowance as income in her tax return.

    Bronwyn can claim a deduction for the cost of using her car for work purposes. She can't claim the amount of the allowance she receives. Bronwyn must calculate the amount of the deduction using the records she keeps whenever she uses her own car for work purposes.

    In the past year Bronwyn has kept a record of the work trips she did using her own car, but she doesn't keep a logbook. Her records show she travelled 320 kms for work purposes.

    As Bronwyn has not kept a logbook, she uses the cents per kilometre method to claim a deduction. The cents per kilometre method rate for the income year is 72 cents per kilometre. Bronwyn claims a deduction of $230.

    End of example

    Difference between allowances and reimbursements

    An allowance doesn't include a reimbursement.

    If your employer pays you:

    • an amount based on an estimate of what you might spend, such as paying cents per kilometre if you use your car for work, then it's an allowance
    • for the actual amount of the expense (either before or after you incur the expense), such as paying for the petrol you use if you use your car for work, it's a reimbursement.

    Allowances not shown on your income statement or payment summary

    Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement or payment summary. This can apply to travel allowances and overtime meal allowances paid under an industrial law, award or agreement. You can see these allowances on your payslips.

    If the allowance isn't on your income statement or payment summary, and you:

    • spent the whole amount on deductible expenses, you  
      • don't include it as income in your tax return
      • can't claim any deductions for these expenses
    • spent more than your allowance, you  
      • include the allowance as income in your tax return
      • can claim a deduction for your expense, if you're eligible.

    Reimbursements

    If your employer pays you the exact amount for expenses you incur (either before or after you incur them), the payment is a reimbursement. We don't consider a reimbursement to be an allowance.

    If your employer reimburses you for expenses you incur:

    • don't include the reimbursement as income in your tax return
    • you can't claim a deduction for them.

    Find out about police officers:

      Last modified: 26 Apr 2022QC 20810