Common expenses P–S
Details on claiming common tradesperson 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. These are private expenses.
You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls on work-related trips.
Example: parking fees
Alisa is an industrial mechanic and drives her own car to work each day and parks in the secure parking lot next to the factory where she works.
Alisa can't claim the cost she incurs for parking at her regular place of work.
End of example
Phone, data and internet expenses
You can claim a deduction for the 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 don't 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 phone 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 you're travelling for work. This is because they are personal phone calls.
Example: work out phone expenses
Harris is a roofer and he uses his personal mobile phone for work purposes (mostly outgoing phone calls). He is on a set plan of $29 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.
He receives an itemised bill from his phone provider each month which includes details of his individual phone calls.
At least once a year, Harris prints out his monthly bill and highlights his work-related phone calls. He also makes notes on the itemised bill about who he has phoned for example, his manager and clients.
Of the 150 calls he made in a four-week period, Harris works out 45 (30%) of the phone calls are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $29 a month.
Harris calculates his phone calls for work purposes as follows:
Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls
45 ÷ 150 = 30%
Harris can claim 30% of the total bill of $29 for each month for work purposes, that is:
$29 × 0.30 = $8.70
Since Harris was only at work for 48 weeks of the year (11 months), he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:
11 months × $8.70 = $95.70
End of example
You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items if you wear them to protect yourself from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment or while performing your work duties.
To be considered protective, the equipment must provide a sufficient degree of protection against the risks of illness or injury you are exposed to in carrying out your work duties. Protective items can include safety glasses, helmets and breathing masks.
For example, a glazier can claim a deduction for the cost of steel-capped boots, gloves and safety glasses.
You can't claim a deduction if your employer:
- supplies the protective items
- reimburses you for the cost you incur to buy protective items.
Example: protective items
Winnie works as a welder. She is required to wear a welding helmet, gloves and fire-retardant hood when performing her work duties. If Winnie doesn't wear these items she is at risk of being injured.
There is a connection between the expense she incurred on the welding helmet, gloves and fire-retardant hood and the protection the items provide for her whilst she is working.
Winnie can claim a deduction for the welding helmet, gloves and fire-retardant hood.
End of example
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 an amount for your work-related use.
Self-education and study expenses
You can claim a deduction for self-education and study expenses if it directly relates to your employment as a tradesperson or apprentice 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 claim a deduction for transport expenses for:
- travel between your home and the place of education and then back home
- the first leg of the trip
- when you travel from home to the place of education and then on to work
- when you travel from work to a place of education and then home
- travel between work and the place of education and then back to work.
You can't claim a deduction of your employer pays your apprenticeship course fees outright or reimburses you upon completion of your course.
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 work from home running expenses, but not occupancy expenses.
You generally can't claim a deduction for the first $250 of expenses for self-education.
Example: reducing your self-education claim
Danh incurs self-education expenses totalling $1,650 in connection with his apprenticeship course at a technical college.
Self-education expenses are broken into 5 categories. Some of Danh’s self-education expenses fall under into a category that requires him to reduce his claim by $250.
Danh calculates his claim for self-education expenses as follows:
Deductible self-education expenses − reduction amount = total claim amount
$1,650 − $250 = $1,400
Danh can claim a deduction of $1,400 for his self-education expenses.
End of example
Example: study isn't relevant to current duties
David is studying carpentry while working as a timber salesperson. He is offered a new position supervising the assembly of timber frames on an understanding that he will continue his studies.
David can't claim deductions for his study expenses while employed as a salesperson. He can claim deductions for his study expenses while employed as a framing supervisor.
End of example
Seminars, conferences and training courses
You can claim a deduction for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a tradesperson or apprentice.
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: conference expenses reimbursed
Harriette is a qualified electrician. Her employer intermittently requires her to attend conferences in order to keep up to date with developments in her field. Harriette’s employer pays for her travel, accommodation, meals and incidental expenses when attending work-related conferences.
Harriette can't claim a deduction for any of these expenses as she didn't incur the costs.
End of example
Example: deductible self-education expenses
Rohan is a carpenter. His employer sent him to a trade show to showcase the company’s new range of cabinetry. His employer paid for his flights and accommodation. However, Rohan was required to pay for his own meals whilst attending the trade show.
Rohan can't claim the cost of his flights and accommodation as he has not incurred these expenses. He can however claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs on meals, whilst attending the trade show.
End of example
You can claim a deduction for the cost of logbooks, diaries, pens and notepads that you buy and use for work-related purposes.
Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen
You can claim a deduction for the work-related use of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if you:
- must work outside in the sun for prolonged periods
- use these items to protect you from the real and likely risk of illness or injury while at work.
This includes prescription sunglasses and anti-glare glasses.
You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the products if you also wear them for private purposes.
Example: claiming sunhat and sunscreen
Nayla works as a concreter on a large-scale residential development. She is required to be outside working in the sun for extended periods to perform her work duties as a concreter.
Nayla buys a broad brim sunhat and SPF 50 sunscreen to use at work. She can claim a deduction for the costs to buy the sunhat and sunscreen lotion as they provide her protection from the sun whilst she is working outside.
End of example
For more tradesperson expenses, see:
- common expenses A–F
- common expenses G–O
- common expenses T–W