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  • Deductions

    You may be able to claim deductions for your work-related expenses. Work-related expenses are expenses you incur on items used to earn your income as a tradesperson or apprentice.

    To claim a deduction for a work-related expense:

    • you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
    • it must be directly related to earning your income
    • you must have a record to prove it (usually a receipt).

    If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

    You can use the ATO app's myDeductions tool to help keep track of your work-related expenses. It’s an easy way to capture information on-the-go and makes tax time quicker by uploading your deductions to your tax return.

    For a summary of common deductions for:

    Or, for a detailed list to help you work out if your expense is deductible, and how much you can claim, see:

    Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common tradesperson expenses for:

    Award transport payments (fares allowance)

    If you receive an allowance from your employer for transport expenses or car expenses and it's paid to you under an award, it's assessable income and must be included on your tax return.

    You can claim a deduction for expenses covered by award transport payments only if the expenses are for deductible work-related travel.

    See also:

    Car expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the normal trips between your home and work. These are private expenses even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours.

    The limited exception to this is if you must carry bulky tools or equipment between home and work. Then, you can claim a deduction only if:

    • don't have a usual place workplace and you travel between home and different workplaces for the same employer at least every few days
    • your employer requires you to transport the tools or equipment for work, that is you don't carry them as a matter of personal choice or convenience
    • the tools or equipment are essential to earning your income
    • there's no secure area for storing them at your workplace
    • the equipment is bulky and difficult to transport – meaning it's heavy and/or cumbersome, such as an extension ladder.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of using your car when you're travelling for work. For example, when you:

    • drive between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling to a second job with another employer
    • drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, driving between separate work sites for the same employer.

    The Work-related car expenses calculator helps calculate the amount you can claim as a deduction for car expenses.

    You must keep records of your car use. If you drive a car you can use the logbook method or the cents per kilometre method to calculate your deduction. If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a logbook to help you determine the percentage of work-related use of your car. If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to provide a calculation of your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

    If you own a motorcycle, or a vehicle with a carrying capacity of

    • one tonne or more – such as a ute or panel van
    • nine passengers or more – such as a minivan

    You can deduct your actual vehicle expenses such as fuel, oil, insurance, repairs and servicing, car loan interest, registration and depreciation. You must keep records of your expenses to show your work-related use. You can't use the cents per kilometre method for these vehicles. It is not a requirement to keep a logbook however, it is the easiest way to show how you calculated your work-related use of the vehicle.

    Example: transporting bulky tools and equipment

    Matt is a tradie. His employer doesn't supply a secure tools storage area at his workplace, so he must transport his bulky tools and equipment to and from work every day.

    Matt is entitled to claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to transport his tools and equipment between his home and work.

    End of example

    Example: storage is available

    Jocelyn works on a large project where secure storage is available for her tools. As Jocelyn chooses to transport her tools to and from work every day, instead of leaving them in the secure storage provided, she can't claim a deduction for transporting her tools to and from work.

    End of example

    Example: tools and transport provided

    Paul's employer provides vans for his employees. The vans are fully equipped with the materials and tools they need to carry out their duties. Paul travels by car to his employer's head office where he picks up the work van then drives to the job. Paul can't claim a deduction for the car expenses he incurs when he travels between his home and work.

    End of example

    Example: travelling between workplaces

    Jack and Bill are carpenters employed to construct roof trusses in their employer's factory and install the trusses in houses at a housing estate.

    The cost of travel between the factory and the housing estate is an allowable deduction.

    The travel between home and the factory or between home and the housing estate is travel to and from their normal work place. It's private and no deduction is allowed.

    End of example

    Example: different worksites each day

    Doug is a plumber and is required to travel to several worksites each day to provide quotes to clients and work on various jobs.

    Doug can claim a deduction for his car expenses between his home and work because he works at several worksites each day.

    End of example

    Example: shifting workplaces

    Matt is an electrician who does maintenance work and uses his own vehicle. Every day he travels to several sites. He carries a large extension ladder on his roof rack, a tool box, reels of cable and boxes of switches.

    Matt is entitled to a deduction for his vehicle expenses because he has shifting places of work. He is also entitled to a deduction because he transports bulky tools and equipment between his home and the worksite.

    End of example

    Example: load carrying capacity

    Amal owns a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass of 2,402 kg and a kerb weight of 1,040 kg, therefore the payload or carrying capacity weight of Amal’s vehicle is:

    • 2,402 kg − 1,040 kg = 1,362 kg

    As the vehicle’s payload or carrying capacity is greater than 1,000 kg (or one tonne), Amal’s motor vehicle claim must be made at 'Work-related travel expenses' on his tax return. Amal’s claim is limited to the actual expenses incurred to the extent that the expenses are for work purposes.

    End of example

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for child care that you pay for when you're working. It's a private expense.

    Clothing expenses (including footwear)

    You can claim a deduction for the cost you incur when you buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's:

    • protective
    • occupation specific (and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing)
    • a uniform.

    Overalls, high-vis vests and steel capped boots are protective and you can claim a deduction for these.

    To claim a deduction for the cost of a uniform it must be unique, distinctive and compulsory to wear. Clothing in a specific colour or brand isn't enough to classify clothing as a uniform. For example, a shirt with the corporate logo on it that you must wear when you work is a uniform, so you can get a deduction for buying it.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it. You can't claim for:

    • heavy duty conventional clothing such as jeans, drill shirts and trousers
    • running shoes or casual shoes.

    These are private expenses.

    Example: conventional clothing

    Richard, a trainee electrician, works on a building site. He wears jeans with t-shirts or long sleeve shirts at work as they are comfortable. While the jeans and shirts afford Richard some protection from skin abrasions, they provide only limited protection from injury. The items are commonly worn as conventional clothing and aren't designed to protect the wearer or cope with rigorous working conditions.

    Richard can't claim a deduction for the cost of purchasing or cleaning these items because they are private in nature.

    End of example

    Example: protective clothing

    Rafael wears steel-capped boots and a hard hat when working at the industrial park. These items aren't of a private or domestic nature and are necessary for Rafael to wear while at work.

    The protective nature of these items means that Rafael can claim a deduction for their cost.

    End of example

    See also:

    Fines

    You can't claim a deduction for any fines you get when you work. Fines may include, parking fines and speeding fines.

    First aid courses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you, as a designated first aid person, are required to undertake first aid training to assist in emergency work situations.

    For more tradesperson expenses, see:

      Last modified: 20 Jun 2019QC 56093