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  • Clothing expenses



    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

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    Did you have any uniform, occupation-specific clothing, protective clothing, laundry or dry-cleaning expenses that relate to your work as an employee?

    Claim work-related clothing expenses at item D3 on your tax return.

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of purchasing or cleaning plain uniform or conventional clothing, such as a suit worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it as it is a private expense. You cannot claim your expenditure on:

    • clothing worn for medical reasons (for example, support stockings)
    • conventional clothing that is damaged at work
    • everyday footwear (for example, dress, casual or running shoes).

    If you received an allowance from your employer for clothing, uniforms, laundry or dry-cleaning, show the amount at item 2 on your tax return. You cannot automatically claim a deduction just because you received a clothing, uniform, laundry or dry-cleaning allowance from your employer.

    You cannot claim costs met by your employer or costs that are reimbursed, see reimbursements.

    For example, Jim is a lawyer in the public service. He provides legal advice on government policies to a wide range of people, the Australian public, government departments, businesses and ministers. He wears trousers and a shirt to work and keeps a suit handy in case he needs to advise a minister at Parliament House. Jim cannot claim a deduction for the cost of his clothing as there is not a sufficient connection between his income-earning activities and the expenditure on his clothing.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, repairing and cleaning certain work-related uniforms, occupation-specific clothing or protective clothing.

    Compulsory uniforms

    A compulsory uniform is a set of clothing that, worn together, identifies you as an employee of an organisation having a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while at work.

    You may be able to claim a deduction for shoes, socks and stockings if they are an essential part of a distinctive compulsory uniform, the characteristics of which (colour, style, type) are specified in your employer’s uniform policy. Wearing of the uniform must be consistently enforced. If your employer requires you to wear a distinctive uniform but does not consistently enforce the wearing of the uniform, the design of the uniform must be registered before you can claim a deduction, see Non-compulsory uniforms or corporate wardrobe.

    Single items of compulsory clothing

    You may be able to claim for a single item of distinctive clothing, such as a jumper or tie, if it is compulsory for you to wear it at work. Generally, clothing is distinctive if it has the employer’s logo permanently attached and the clothing is not available to the general public.

    Non-compulsory uniforms or corporate wardrobe

    If your employer requires or encourages you to wear a distinctive uniform or corporate wardrobe but does not consistently enforce the wearing of it, you can claim a deduction for the cost of the clothing only if the design of the clothing is registered. If you wear a non-compulsory uniform or corporate wardrobe, you cannot claim for stockings, socks or shoes as these items cannot be registered as part of a non-compulsory uniform. Your employer can tell you if your non-compulsory uniform or corporate wardrobe is registered.

    Occupation-specific clothing

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of occupation-specific clothing. This is clothing that is specific to your occupation, is not everyday in nature and would allow the public to easily recognise your occupation, for example, robes worn by barristers.

    Protective clothing

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, replacing or maintaining protective clothing. Protective clothing is clothing that you wear to protect yourself from the risk of illness or injury posed by your income-earning activities or the environment in which you are required to carry them out, for example, rubber gloves. You can also claim a deduction for the cost of clothing that you use at work to protect your ordinary clothes from soiling or damage, for example, aprons. For more information, see Taxation Ruling TR 2003/16Income tax: deductibility of protective items.

    Laundry and dry-cleaning

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of laundering and dry-cleaning work clothes that are eligible according to the relevant category described on this page, compulsory uniforms, single items of compulsory clothing, non-compulsory uniforms or corporate wardrobe, and protective clothing. For example, you can claim a deduction for cleaning a uniform that your employer provides and that you must wear at work.

    You can claim laundry expenses for washing, drying or ironing such work clothes, including laundromat expenses. If your claim for laundry expenses is $150 or less, you do not need written evidence, but you must use a reasonable basis on which to work out your claim.

    If you claim a deduction for laundry expenses that is more than $150 and your total claim for work-related expenses (other than car, meal allowance, award transport allowance and travel allowance expenses) exceeds $300, you need written evidence for the total claim. You can claim the cost of dry-cleaning work clothes if you have kept written evidence to substantiate your claim. You do not need written evidence if your total claim for work-related expenses is $300 or less.

      Last modified: 01 Jul 2015QC 39796