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  • Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common professional sportsperson expenses for:

    Car expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for normal trips between your home and work. These are private expenses, even if you:

    • live a long way from your usual workplace
    • have to work outside normal business hours (for example, weekend or early morning shifts).

    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 or where you had shifting places of employment.

    To be able to claim a deduction for the cost of trips between home and work while carrying bulky tools or equipment, all the following conditions must be met:

    • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties
    • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that
      • because of the size and weight, they are awkward to transport, and
      • can only be transported conveniently using a 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 are considered to have shifting places of employment where you have no fixed place of work and you continually travel from one work site to another.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of using a car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase arrangement) when you drive:

    • between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from your first job as a footballer directly to your second job as a recurring guest on a sports radio talk show
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, from your training venue to your competition venue.

    However, as a professional sportsperson, you may be able to claim deductions for travel to and from home for training, matches and other sporting activities where any of the following applies:

    • there's a practical necessity of travelling by car – such as when you need to transport bulky sporting gear and you do not transport them as a matter of convenience
    • the car travel is required to enable you to comply with particular terms in your contract
    • your home is considered your base of operations.

    To claim a deduction, you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the cents per kilometre method or the logbook method to work out your deduction.

    If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to help you work out the percentage of work-related use, along with written evidence, of your car.

    If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to be able to show how you work out your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

    To claim a deduction in your tax return, include the amount of your claim at ‘Work-related car expenses’. The Work-related car expenses calculator helps calculate the amount you can claim as a deduction for car expenses.

    You can’t use the cents per kilometre or logbook methods to work out your claim for a:

    • motorcycle
    • vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more (such as a ute)
    • vehicle that can transport nine passengers or more (such as a people mover).

    For these vehicles, you can claim the actual expenses you incur for your work-related travel. This includes costs such as fuel, oil, insurance and loan interest along with the decline in value of the vehicle. You must keep receipts for all your expenses and records to show your work-related use of the vehicle. The easiest way to do this is to keep a logbook or documents that provide similar details to a logbook.

    To claim a deduction for actual expenses you incur for a vehicle not defined as a car, include the amount at ‘Work-related travel expenses’.

    For more detailed information, see:

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of child care (including school holidays and before and after school care) when you’re working. It’s a private expense, and the expenses have no direct connection to earning your income.

    Clothing and uniform expenses (including footwear)

    With a few exceptions, clothing is a private expense. You can't claim conventional clothing (including footwear) as a work-related expense, even if your employer requires you to wear it and you only wear these items of clothing at work.

    'Conventional clothing' is everyday clothing worn by people regardless of their occupation – for example, sports gear worn by athletes.

    You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's in one of the following categories:

    • protective clothing
    • occupation specific clothing
    • a compulsory uniform, that your employer strictly and consistently enforces you wear by workplace agreement or policy and distinctly identifies either
      • you as an employee working for a particular employer
      • the products or services your employer provides
    • a non-compulsory uniform that your employer listed on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing with AusIndustry.

    Protective clothing you wear to protect yourself from specific risks of injury or illness at work. The clothing must have protective features or functions (for example, steel-capped boots, fire-resistant clothing, or boiler suits that protect conventional clothing). Conventional clothes you wear at work are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work. This includes jeans, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, closed shoes.

    Occupation specific clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person associated with a particular profession, trade or occupation (for example a judge's robes or a chef's chequered pants). Items traditionally worn in a profession are not occupation-specific where the clothing is worn by multiple professions.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer buys, repairs or replaces your clothing.

    Example: when you can claim a deduction for protective clothing

    John is a professional rugby league player for a well-known national club. His pre-season training ground is outside and he normally spends six to eight hours per day, five days per week on the field.

    John purchases a SPF 50+ long sleeve sun shirt to wear at training for $80. The shirt doesn't have an emblem or logo of John’s employer on it.

    Normally, this shirt would be considered conventional clothing and John would not be able to claim a deduction for its cost as a work-related expense. However, in this situation, John can claim a deduction for the cost of purchasing the shirt because:

    • he is exposed to the sun for extended periods in the course of undertaking his work-related activities
    • the shirt is protective in nature as it is designed to provide a sufficient degree of protection from the risk of illness or injury posed by the sun.
    End of example

     

    Example: you can’t claim a deduction for the purchase of conventional clothing

    Renee is a professional soccer player in the W-League. Her club provides her with team training uniforms. Renee decides to purchase additional training wear from a general sportswear store to wear in addition to her training uniforms.

    Renee can't claim a work-related expense for the purchase of the additional training wear as the items of clothing are not a compulsory or non-compulsory uniform. The clothing is of a conventional nature and Renee has made a personal choice to purchase additional items.

    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, fundraising or social functions. This applies even if they are compulsory, non-compulsory or you discuss work matters at the event. Entertainment and social functions include the cost of:

    • business breakfasts, lunches or dinners
    • attendance at sporting events
    • gala or social nights
    • concerts or dances
    • cocktail parties
    • other similar types of functions or events.

    These are private expenses because these events do not have a direct connection to your work duties.

    You also can’t claim the cost of travelling to and from functions.

    Fitness expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of fitness, as maintaining a very high level of fitness and physical activity is an essential element to you in gaining income. Expenses you may be able to claim include:

    • gym fees
    • gym and training equipment that cost $300 or less.

    Generally, if the cost of an asset is $300 or less, you may claim an immediate deduction for the full cost of the item at the end of the income year. If the item costs more than $300, you can claim a decline in value deduction for the cost over the life of the item.

    The following expenses are not allowable health and fitness deductions:

    • the cost of a program specifically designed to manage weight
    • the cost of normal food substitutes or the cost of food for special dietary purposes
    • the cost of vitamins, minerals, or sports supplements, such as protein shakes.

    You can’t in any circumstances claim a deduction for expenses you incur to buy conventional clothing you use in the course of keeping fit. This includes tracksuits, running or aerobic shoes, socks, sporting shirts or shorts.

    For more professional sportspersons' expenses, see:

      Last modified: 19 Feb 2021QC 36159