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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on common retail industry employee expenses for:

    Parking fees and tolls

    You can't claim a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of work. You also can't claim a deduction for tolls you incur for trips between your home and work. This is a private expense.

    You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips.

    Example: parking fees not deductible

    Katie works as a sales assistant at a makeup store. She usually parks in the shopping centre and pays $15 per day to park close to work.

    Katie is not able to claim a deduction for parking at her regular place of work.

    End of example

    Phone, data and internet expenses

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

    If your phone, data and internet use for work is incidental and you're not claiming more than $50 in total, you do not need to keep records.

    If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill where you can identify your work-related calls and data use.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer:

    • provides you with a phone for work and pays for the usage
    • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

    You can’t claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while travelling for work. This is because these are personal calls.

    Example: calculating phone expenses

    George sometimes uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He's on a set plan of $49 each month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

    He receives an itemised account from his provider monthly, that includes details of his individual calls. At least once a year, George prints his account and highlights his work-related calls. He also notes on the account who he has called – for example his manager.

    At the end of the income year, George works out he has made 300 calls and that 10% of his call costs are work-related. George calculates his calls for work purposes as follows:

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

    30 ÷ 300 = 10%

    George can claim 10% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes:

    $49 × 0.10 = $4.90

    George worked for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), so he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    10.6 months × $4.90 = $51.94

    End of example

     

    Example: work and personal internet usage

    Mary occasionally uses her computer and personal internet at home if she needs to rearrange her shifts. Mary uses her internet for both work-related and private purposes.

    Mary keeps a diary which shows 10% of her internet usage was for work-related activities and 90% was for private use. Her internet bill totalled $1,200 for the year. Mary can claim:

    $1,200 × 10% = $120 as work-related internet use

    If there was anyone else that accesses the internet connection, Mary will need to reduce her claim to account for their use.

    End of example

    See also:

    Self-education and study expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education and study expenses if it directly relates to your current employment in the retail industry and it:

    • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
    • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment.

    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
    • enables you to get employment or change employment.

    If your self-education and study expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

    You can't claim a deduction for the repayments you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

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

    While course fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

    If you have set aside a home office to do your study, you may also be able to claim home office running expenses, but not occupancy expenses. You generally can't claim a deduction for the first $250 of expenses for self-education.

    Example: education not related to current employment

    Jane is a shop assistant who would like to go into business for herself. She is doing a part-time course in Business Administration. As the course isn't related to her current employment, she can't claim a deduction.

    End of example

    For more detailed information and record keeping, see:

    See also:

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work in the retail industry.

    The costs you can claim includes fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

    You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

    Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course, for example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion.

    Example: deduction for attending a conference

    Reeta is a retail assistant at a popular clothing franchise. She attends a conference for her company to learn about the new stock they are receiving.

    Reeta can claim a deduction for the cost of attending the conference as this is directly related to her work.

    End of example

     

    Example: work-related and personal seminar

    Willow is a manager at a stationery shop. Each year she attends an interstate conference on business management to discuss and share ideas with colleagues within her industry. This year she also decides to visit her family interstate for one day.

    As Willow's travel has dual purpose, she is only able to claim the work-related portion of her expenses. She cannot claim any expenses incurred when she is visiting her family. This is a private expense.

    End of example

    For more retail industry workers' expenses, see:

      Last modified: 22 Feb 2021QC 51271