• Performing artists

    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 employee performing artists.

    For more information about the deductibility of these expenses, see question D5 in Individual tax return instructions.

    Agents fees

    You can claim a deduction for commissions paid to theatrical agents. You cannot claim a deduction for upfront or joining fees.

    Audition expenses

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of preparing for or attending auditions, as they are incurred in getting work rather than doing work.

    Capital allowances

    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.

    See also:

    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 software
    • telephones, answering machines, facsimile machines, mobile phones, pagers and other telecommunications equipment
    • television, video recorders and compact disc players
    • tools and equipment
    • a professional library.

    Low-value pool

    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 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).

    Coaching classes – for example, for acting, singing and dancing

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of classes taken to maintain existing specific skills or to obtain work-related specific skills. This is so even if the training is undertaken between engagements. You can claim a deduction for the cost of lessons to acquire specific skills for use in a particular role or performance.

    Fitness expenses

    You can claim a deduction for fitness expenses if you are required to maintain a very high level of fitness and physical activity is an essential element in your work. For example, this is the case for a trapeze artist. You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of maintaining general fitness or body shape.

    Gifts

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of gifts such as flowers or alcohol for fellow performers, producers or directors as it is a private expense.

    Glasses and contact lenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of tinted contact lenses to alter eye colour or special spectacle frames if it is required for a role.

    Grooming

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of a particular hairstyle if it is required for a role. You can claim a deduction for the cost of hairdressing specifically to maintain a required hair length or style as part of a costume for continuity purposes. You can claim a deduction for the cost of stage make-up, including the cost of cleansing materials for removing stage make-up.

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of hairdressing, make-up or facials that are private expenses not relating to your role or costume.

    Home office

    Private study

    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.

    See also:

    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.

    See also:

    There may also be capital gains tax implications if you sell your home and it has been used as a place of business.

    See also:

    Insurance of equipment

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of insuring the equipment you use to the extent that you use it for work.

    Interest costs

    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.

    Meals

    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. For information about claiming deductions for the cost of meals eaten during overtime, see Overtime meals.

    Overtime meals

    You may be able to claim a deduction for overtime meal expenses you incurred if you received an overtime meal allowance from your employer which was paid under an industrial law, award or agreement. To claim a deduction, you will need written evidence if your claim per meal is more than the reasonable rate stated in:

    You can claim for overtime meal expenses incurred only on those occasions when:

    • you worked overtime
    • you received an 'overtime meal allowance' for that overtime.

    You must include amounts you received for overtime meal allowance as income at item 2 on your tax return.

    If you received an award overtime meal allowance which is not shown on a payment summary, you may choose not to include the allowance as income at item 2 on your tax return and not claim a deduction, as long as:

    • the allowance does not exceed the Commissioner’s reasonable amounts
    • you have fully spent it on deductible expenses.

    An amount for overtime meals that has been folded in as part of your normal salary and wage income is not considered to be an overtime meal allowance.

    Photographs

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of maintaining a photographic portfolio for publicity purposes. You cannot claim a deduction for the initial cost of preparing the portfolio.

    Repairs

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of repairing tools and equipment used 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.

    Research expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of researching a role or character that you have been employed to play, for example, the cost of reference material containing information on a character, era or event.

    Social functions

    You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of attending award nights or other social events, even if there is an entertainment industry connection, as it is a private expense.

    Tapes, discs, cassettes and digital media

    You can claim a deduction for the work-related part of the cost of audio and video tapes (including digital video discs) and compact discs, for example, tapes used for rehearsal.

    Technical or professional publications

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of journals, periodicals and magazines that have a content specifically related to your employment as an employee performing artist, for example, the magazine Encore.

    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.

    Theatre and film tickets

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of theatre and film tickets if the show has a content directly related to your current work. You cannot claim the cost of tickets for shows you attend for general interest, entertainment or other private purposes.

    Union and professional association fees

    You can claim a deduction for union and professional association fees. If the amount you paid is shown on your payment summary, you can use it to prove your claim. You can claim a deduction for a levy paid in certain circumstances, for example, to protect the interests of members and their jobs.

    You cannot claim a deduction for:

    • joining fees, or
    • levies or other amounts you paid to assist families of employees suffering financial difficulties as a result of employees being on strike or having been laid off.
      Last modified: 26 May 2016QC 48205