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Election expenses

Deductions for the costs of contesting parliamentary and local government elections, and union elections.

Last updated 24 June 2024

Parliamentary and local government elections

You can claim a deduction for expenses you incur as a candidate in contesting an election, provided the expense is the type you would incur to further your chances of being elected to a Parliament. This includes the candidate's costs to contest:

  • state or territory elections
  • federal elections.

You can also claim a deduction for expenses you incur in contesting a local government election for membership of a local governing body such as a city, town, municipal or shire council. Your deduction can't exceed $1,000 for each election contested, even if you incur the expense in more than one income year.

You can't claim a deduction for entertainment expenses as election expenses unless you're either:

  • providing entertainment that is available to the public generally
  • buying food and drink for yourself while you are travelling overnight in the course of a campaign and the food and drink expenses are not incurred in entertaining another person.

If you claim a deduction for any election expense and you get a reimbursement, you must include the amount as income in your tax return.

For more information see, TR 1999/10 Income tax and fringe benefits tax: Members of Parliament - allowances, reimbursements, donations and gifts, benefits, deductions and recoupments.

Union elections

If you are a salaried, elected trade union official, you can't claim a deduction for contributions into a general fund for the election of trade union officials. The expense is not incurred in gaining your assessable income, but rather to assist in obtaining future employment for yourself and others.

For more information, see TR 2000/7 Income tax: subscriptions, joining fees, levies and contributions paid to associations by individuals.