Australian Defence Force members
Other work-related expenses
Did you have other expenses relating to your work as an employee?
Here is a list of other expenses commonly incurred by Australian Defence Force (ADF) members. For more information about the deductibility of these expenses,
see question D5 in Individual tax return instructions.
You can claim a deduction for depreciating assets you purchase and use for work. The deduction you can claim is worked out on the effective life of the equipment, and the decline in value of equipment over the time it is used for work. If you also use the equipment for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the decline in value.
You cannot claim a deduction if the equipment is supplied by your employer or any other person.
You may be able to claim a capital allowance for the following equipment:
- computers and computer software
- telephones, answering machines, facsimile machines, mobile phones, pagers and other telecommunications equipment
- a professional library
- tools and equipment
- watches with special characteristics that you use for work, for example, stopwatches but not ordinary wristwatches
- rifles, ammunition and cleaning equipment. These items are normally supplied and replaced by the ADF. However, you can claim a deduction for the decline in value of rifles used for work if you incurred the expenditure. You can claim the costs of ammunition and cleaning equipment you purchased for work.
You also have the option to pool equipment costing less than $1,000 and equipment written down to less than $1,000 under the diminishing value method. You work out a deduction for the decline in value of equipment in this low-value pool by a single calculation using set rates.
For more information on claiming a deduction for a low-value pool, see question D6 in Individual tax return instructions and make your claim at item D6 on your tax return.
Equipment costing $300 or less
You can claim an immediate deduction for equipment you purchase and use for work costing $300 or less.
You cannot claim an immediate deduction if:
- the equipment is part of a set that you buy in the same income year and the total cost of the set is more than $300 (the set rule), or
- the equipment is one of a number of identical or substantially identical items you buy in an income year and the total cost of the items is more than $300 (the multiples rule).
Extra regimental duties (ERD)
You can claim a deduction for these costs if the ERD forms part of your income-earning activities and it is not a private or domestic expense.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of fitness expenses only if you are required to maintain a very high level of fitness. This fitness level is well above the ADF general standard, and you earn your ADF income by performing a range of duties designed to keep you physically prepared. This applies to physical training instructors and respective members of the Australian Special Forces. If there is a private component to the expenses, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the expenses.
Glasses and contact lenses
You may claim the cost of protective sunglasses if you are required to work outdoors and as a result are exposed to risk of eye damage from sunlight, see Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of haircuts as it is a private expense.
You can claim a deduction for the additional running expenses of an office or a study at home that you use for income-producing activities. Running expenses include decline in value of home office equipment, the costs of repairs to your home office furniture and fittings, and heating, cooling, lighting and cleaning expenses. You cannot claim occupancy expenses (for example, rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums) unless you are carrying on a business. If your only income is paid to you as an employee, you are not considered to be carrying on a business.
Diary records noting the time the home office was used for work are acceptable evidence of a connection between the use of a home office and your work. You will need to keep diary records during a representative four-week period.
Place of business
You can claim a deduction for part of the running and occupancy expenses of your home if you use an area of your home as a place of business.
There may also be capital gains tax implications if you sell your home and it has been used as a place of business.
Insurance of tools and equipment
You can claim a deduction for the cost of insuring the equipment you use to the extent that you use it for work.
You can claim the cost of interest on money borrowed to purchase work-related equipment. If the equipment was also used for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the interest.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of meals eaten during a normal working day as it is a private expense, even if you receive an allowance to cover the meal expense.
You cannot claim deductions for the costs of attending mess functions or social functions as they are private expenses.
You can claim a deduction only for the parts of your compulsory mess subscriptions that are work related. You cannot claim a deduction for amounts paid for food, drink or entertainment.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of repairing tools and equipment for work.
If the tools or equipment were also used for private purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for that part of the repair cost.
Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens
You can claim a deduction for the cost of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if the nature of your work requires you to work in the sun for all or part of the day and you use these items to protect yourself from the sun while at work.
Technical or professional publications
You can claim a deduction for the cost of journals, periodicals and magazines that have a content sufficiently connected to your employment as an ADF member.
Telephone calls, telephone rental and connection costs
You can claim a deduction for the cost of work-related telephone calls.
You can claim a deduction for your telephone rental if you can show that you are on call or are regularly required to telephone your employer while you are away from your workplace. If you also use your telephone for private purposes, you must apportion the cost of telephone rental between work-related and private use.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of connecting a telephone, mobile phone, pager or any other telecommunications equipment as it is a capital expense.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of an unlisted telephone number (silent number) as it is a private expense.
Weight loss expenses
You cannot claim a deduction for this cost as it is a private expense.
If you are a member of the defence forces, this guide will help you to work out what other work-related expenses you can claim in your tax return.