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  • Real estate professional

    If you’re a real estate professional, 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 personal 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, travelling from your real estate agency to your second job as a waiter
    • to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling between two different residential open homes.

    You generally can’t claim the cost of normal 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, to attend a weekend auction.

    There are limited circumstances where you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work – for example, a large 'for sale' sign and tools to erect it. The cost of these trips is deductible only if:

    • your employer requires you to transport the equipment for work
    • the equipment is essential to earning your income
    • there was no secure area to store the equipment at the work location, and
    • The equipment is bulky – at least 20 kg or cumbersome to transport.

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

    Travel expenses

    You can claim a deduction for travel expenses if you have to travel overnight from your usual work location – for example, traveling to a remote area to inspect a property provided the cost was incurred while carrying our your work duties. Travel expenses may include meals, accommodation, fares, petrol and incidentals such as parking fees and tolls.

    Receiving a travel allowance from your employer does not automatically entitle you to a deduction. You still need to show that you were away overnight, you spent the money yourself, and the travel was directly related to earning your income – for example, it was not a personal expense.

    Clothing and grooming expenses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, mending or cleaning certain uniforms that are unique and distinctive to your job. For example, clothing items you're required to wear which have a logo that is unique and distinctive to your employer.

    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, for example, black pants and white shirt.

    You can’t claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even if your employer tells you to use them, or you are required to be well-groomed.

    Home office expenses

    You can claim a percentage of the running costs of your home office if you have to work from home, including depreciation of office equipment, work-related phone calls and internet access charges, and electricity for heating, cooling and lighting costs.

    If you are required to purchase equipment for your work and it costs more than $300, you can claim a deduction for this cost spread over a number of years (depreciation).

    You generally can’t claim the cost of rates, mortgage interest, rent and insurance.

    Other expenses

    Other expenses you can claim a deduction for include:

    • Marketing equipment – for example, the work-related portion of cameras used for property photos
    • Decorating properties – for example, flowers
    • renewing your annual Certificate of Registration
    • union and professional association fees
    • technical or professional publications.

    Gifts

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of gifts – for example, alcohol or, flowers bought for work purposes if you are a salesperson or property manager entitled to receive your income from commission or both commission and retainer.

    You can’t claim a deduction if you earn a fixed income and you are not entitled to earn a commission.

    You can’t claim a deduction for gifts that are in the form of entertainment – for example, a live sporting event.

    See also

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      Last modified: 15 Oct 2021QC 59240