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  • Hospitality worker

    If you’re a hospitality worker, 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.

    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, chef's checked pants and chef's hat, or protective clothing like aprons that your employer requires you to wear.

    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 expects you to be well groomed. All grooming products are private expenses.

    Car expenses

    You can claim a deduction when you:

    • drive between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from your job as a waiter directly to your second job as a cleaner
    • drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from the restaurant you work at to a catering function.

    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, public holidays or night shifts.

    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 bain-marie needed for a catering function. The cost of these trips is deductible only if:

    • your employer requires you to transport the equipment for work
    • the equipment was 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.

    Tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of the purchase of tools or equipment you are required to use for work, for example, chef knives. You can't claim a deduction relating to any private use of the equipment or if the tools and equipment are supplied by your employer or another person.

    If a tool or item of work equipment used for work:

    • costs more than $300 – you claim a deduction for the cost over a number of years (depreciation)
    • cost $300 or less – you can claim an immediate deduction for the whole cost.

    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 can't claim a deduction for that part of the repair cost.

    Self-education expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your course relates directly to your current job, for example, barista course if you are working in a coffee shop.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your study is only related in a general way or is designed to help get you a new job, for example, you can't claim the cost of study to enable you to move from being a food delivery driver to be a chef.

    Other common deductible work-related expenses

    Other expenses you can claim a deduction for include:

    • the work-related portion of phone expenses if you have to make phone calls or send texts for work
    • union and professional association fees
    • technical or professional publications
    • renewing your special employee or gaming licence.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of getting your initial licence.

    See also:

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      Last modified: 30 Jun 2021QC 59240