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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common teacher and education professional expenses for:

    Phone and internet expenses

    You can claim the work-related portion of your phone and internet costs if your employer requires you to use your own phone or electronic device.

    You need to keep records to show your work use if you claim more than $50 on phone and internet expenses.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer provides you with a phone for work and pays for the usage, or if your employer reimburses you for the costs.

    You can't claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while you're travelling for work. This is because they're not work-related calls.

    Example: calculating phone expenses

    Rita uses her mobile phone for work purposes. She is on a set mobile phone plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

    Rita receives an itemised account from her phone provider each month by email, which includes details of the individual calls she has made.

    At least once a year, and sometimes two or three times, Rita prints out her account and highlights the work-related calls she has made. She makes notes on her account for the first month about who she is calling for work – her employer, parents, and so on.

    She works out that 15% of the individual call expenses are for work, and applies that to her cap amount of $49 a month.

    Since Rita was only at work for 38 weeks of the year, she calculates her work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    • 8.8 months × $49 × 0.15 = $65
    End of example


    Example: computer used for private and personal use

    Rita uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails to grade her year 12 students' English assignments. Rita uses her computer and the internet:

    • 40% for work purposes
    • 60% for private purposes.

    This means Rita can claim 40% of the depreciation of her computer, and 40% of her internet access charges.

    End of example

    See also:

    Repairs to tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes, you can only claim the work-related portion.

    Self-education expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if it's directly related to your current employment as a teacher or education professional 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 education is only related in a general way and designed to:

    • enable you to get employment
    • obtain new employment
    • open up a new income-earning activity.

    Self-education expenses include fees, travel expenses (for example, attending a conference interstate), transport costs, books and equipment. You usually have to reduce your self-education expenses by $250 – that is, the first $250 of expenses for self-education aren't deductible.

    Example: self-education claims

    Trevor currently has a bachelor of education but is studying for his master's qualification in education. Trevor uses the self-education expenses category table to determine the type of self-education expense he can claim.

    He can claim course fees, text books and travel costs but because they all fall into category A of self-education expense categories, Trevor must reduce these expenses by $250.

    End of example


    Example: self-education for a new job

    Louis is a motor mechanic who's hoping to work at the local TAFE as a part time teacher. He has to gain a teaching degree before he can do so. The cost of the degree isn't deductible because the studies:

    • are focused on teaching and Louis works as a mechanic (his course and job aren't related)
    • don't maintain or improve his specific knowledge or skills in his current job
    • don't relate to his current employment, and will enable him to get new employment.
    End of example


    Example: education expenses you can't claim

    Brianna, a university lecturer, was having difficulty coping with work due to stress with her family situation. She attends a four-week course in stress management. She attended the course after hours and paid for it herself.

    She can't claim a deduction for the cost of the course because it wasn't designed to maintain or increase the skill or specific knowledge required in her current position.

    End of example

    See also:

    Seminars and conferences

    You can claim for the cost of seminars and conferences that relate to your work as a teacher or education professional

    Social functions

    You can't claim the cost of attending staff dinners or other social functions.


    You can claim a deduction for the cost of logbooks, diaries and pens that you use for work.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer reimburses you for these expenses.

    Student expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of items you supply to students for their own needs, gifts purchased for students or meeting students’ personal expenses – for example, paying for lunch.

    Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if you're required to work in the sun and use these items to protect yourself while at work – for example, if you're a school sporting coach for track and field events, in addition to your teaching duties.

    For more teachers and education professionals expenses, see:

      Last modified: 10 Apr 2019QC 22569