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  • Police officer

    If you’re a police officer it pays to learn what you can claim at tax time.

    To claim a deduction for work-related expenses:

    • you must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed
    • it must directly relate to earning your income
    • you must have a record to prove it. (See Note)

    You can only claim the work-related part of expenses. You can't claim a deduction for any part of the expense that relates to private use.

    Note: You can use the ATO app myDeductions tool to keep track of your expenses and receipts throughout the year.

    Car expenses

    You can claim the cost of using a car you own when you drive:

    • between separate jobs on the same day – for example, from your first job as a police officer directly to your second job as a security guard
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from the police station to a crime scene.

    You generally can’t claim the cost of trips between home and work, even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours – for example, night or public holiday shifts.

    In limited circumstances you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, where you are required to carry bulky tools or equipment for work and all of the following conditions were met:

    • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties and you don’t carry them merely as a matter of choice
    • the tools or equipment are bulky – meaning that because of the size and weight they are awkward to transport and can only be transported conveniently by the use of a motor vehicle
    • there was no secure storage for the items at the workplace.

    If you claim car expenses, you need to keep a logbook to determine the percentage, or be able to demonstrate to the ATO a reasonable calculation if you use the cents per kilometre method to claim.

    Clothing expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of mending or cleaning your police uniform.

    You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it, and even if you only wear it for work.

    Phone and internet expenses

    You can claim phone and internet usage if your employer needs you to use your personal devices for work.

    You can only claim work-related portion of the use of your personal device.

    Self-education expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your course relates directly to your current job – for example, defensive driving course.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your study is only related in a general way or is designed to help you get a new job outside of the police force.

    Other common deductible work-related expenses

    As long as the expense relates to your employment, you can claim a deduction for the work-related portion of the costs of:

    • union and professional association fees
    • technical or professional publications.

    You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of:

    • haircuts, grooming, weight loss programs or supplies even though there may be specific regulations
    • attending social functions
    • fitness expenses except if your role requires a level of fitness well above ordinary police standards, such as special operations.

    See also

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      Last modified: 15 Oct 2021QC 59240