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  • Common expenses G–O

    Details on claiming common tradesperson expenses for:

    Glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses

    You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses. These are private 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 tradesperson or apprentice.

    See also:

    Insurance of tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of insuring your tools and equipment to the extent that you use them for work.

    Laundry and maintenance

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of washing, drying and ironing clothing you wear at work if it's:

    • protective
    • occupation specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing
    • a uniform either non-compulsory and registered with AusIndustry or compulsory.

    This also includes laundromat and dry cleaning expenses.

    If your laundry claim 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: laundry expenses

    Dante is employed as a commercial painter. His employer provides him with a compulsory uniform that has the company name and logo embroidered on it. Dante can claim a deduction for laundering his uniform.

    Dante washes his uniforms three times a week in loads separate to his other clothes. He worked for 40 weeks during the financial year.

    Dante calculates his claim as follows:

    3 × 40 weeks × $1per load = $120.

    As his total claim for laundry expenses is under $150 ($120) Dante isn't required to keep written evidence of his laundry expenses. However, if asked, he will still be required to explain how he calculated his claim.

    End of example

    Example: conventional clothing

    May is employed as a handyworker. Her employer doesn't have a uniform policy. She purchases work shirts and pants from a department store and wears comfortable running shoes when performing her duties.

    May can't claim a deduction for the purchase or laundering of her work clothes as these items are considered conventional clothing and private in nature.

    End of example

    See also:

    Licences, permits and cards

    You can claim a deduction for any renewal fees for licences, regulatory permits, certificates, or 'cards' that relate to your work.

    You can't claim the cost of getting your initial licence or certificate, even if you must have it as a condition of employment.

    Meal and snack expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume in the course of your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. These are private expenses.

    See also:

    Overtime meal expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime, if you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or enterprise agreement and it's included in your assessable income.

    You can't claim a deduction if your overtime meal allowance is rolled into your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your income statement or payment summary.

    You are generally required to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction for overtime meal expenses. However, each year we set a reasonable amount you can claim for overtime meal expenses without receipts. If you are claiming a deduction and spent:

    • up to the reasonable amount, you don't have to get and keep receipts
    • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for all your expenses.

    In all cases, you need to be able to show:

    • you spent the money
    • how you calculated your claim.

    Example: overtime meal expenses

    Ash was employed for a major painting job at a shopping centre. He was required to work overtime for 10 days. Ash was paid an overtime meal allowance of $30.60 for each night he worked overtime equivalent to the reasonable rate set by us.

    Ash was happy to spend $14.00 each time on a takeaway meal. At the end of the income year his income statement showed he received $306 in allowances which represented the 10 overtime days × $30.60.

    In his tax return, Ash correctly showed the $306 allowance and claimed deductions of $14.00 × 10 = $140. This is the amount he had actually spent on his overtime meals.

    The difference of $166 ($306 − $140) will be included as taxable income on Ash’s tax assessment.

    End of example

    See also:

    • Overtime meals
    • TD 2019/11 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime amounts for the 2019–20 income year?

    For more tradesperson expenses, see:

      Last modified: 04 May 2020QC 56093