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  • Common expenses G–O

    Details on claiming common real estate employee expenses for:

    Gifts

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of gifts bought for work purposes if, you're a salesperson or property manager entitled to receive your income from commission or both commission and retainer.

    Gifts you can claim include:

    • a Christmas hamper
    • a bottle of whisky
    • wine
    • gift vouchers
    • a bottle of perfume
    • flowers
    • a pen set.

    You can't claim a deduction if you earn a fixed income and you are not entitled to earn a commission.

    You can't claim a deduction for gifts that are in the form of entertainment – for example, attending a live sporting event.

    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 as these are personal expenses.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of anti-glare glasses if you wear them to reduce the risk of illness or injury while working as a real estate employee.

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

    See also:

    Grooming expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, 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 are personal expenses

    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 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 be able to explain how you calculated your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.

    Example: when you can claim a deduction for uniform clothing

    Chloe is a real estate agent. Her employer provides and requires staff to wear polo shirts with the company’s name and logo on them. Chloe is also required to wear plain black pants or a skirt to work.

    Chloe can claim a deduction for the cost of laundering her shirts.

    Even though Chloe’s employer requires her to wear black pants and skirts to work she can't claim a deduction for laundering these items. They are considered conventional clothing.

    Chloe works for 40 weeks of the financial year and washes these items twice a week in a mixed load with other clothes.

    Chloe calculates her laundry claim as follows:

    2 × 40 weeks × $0.50 per load = $40

    As her total claim for laundry expenses is under $150 ($40) Chloe isn't required to keep evidence of her laundry expenses. However, if asked, she will still be required to explain how she calculated the claim.

    End of example

    See also:

    Marketing equipment

    You can claim a deduction for the work-related portion of marketing equipment you use, such as the work-related portion of cameras used for property photos.

    See also:

    Newspapers and other news services, magazines and professional publications

    The cost of newspapers, other news services and magazines are generally personal 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 personal 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 part of your salary and wages and not included 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 for 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 reasonable amount, you don’t have to get and keep receipts
    • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for 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 real estate employee expenses, see:

      Last modified: 19 Feb 2021QC 24417