To claim a deduction for a bag, case or satchel:
- You must incur the cost and use the bag or case to carry items for work.
- You must need to carry the items for work and the bag or case must be suitable for that purpose.
- You must work out if you can claim the cost of the item in the income year you buy it or the decline in value over its effective life.
- You must have a record of your expenses and use of the bag or case.
Items you carry and use for work may include laptops, tablets, work papers, protective equipment or diaries.
Items such as gym gear, food, or a personal phone, tablet or laptop are not items you need to carry and use for work. These are private or domestic items.
When you use the bag or case for both private and work purposes, you need to apportion your deduction. You can only claim the work-related use of the bag or case as a deduction.
What you can't claim
You can't claim a deduction for bags or cases:
- if you mainly use the bag or case for private purposes, such as carrying your lunch or beauty and hygiene products to work
- you use the bag or case for private purposes, such as weekend travel
- that someone else supplies for your use.
Bags and cases that you use for work may include:
- a briefcase
- a laptop bag
- a satchel
- luggage – for example, suitcases and carry-on bags
- a handbag (in limited circumstances).
Example: luggage for a work trip
Ibrahim works as cabin crew on long-haul international flights. He buys luggage to use exclusively for work for $200.
He can claim an immediate deduction for the luggage in the income year he buys it, as it costs under $300End of example
Example: deduction for a handbag used for work purpose
Elizabeth buys a handbag for $150 to carry her tablet and work diary between appointments with clients. She only uses the handbag to carry the work items and she carries another bag for her personal items. She does not use the handbag that carries her tablet outside of work hours.
Elizabeth can claim a deduction for the cost of the handbag she uses to carry the work items. As the handbag costs less than $300 and is used 100% for work purposes, she can claim an immediate deduction for the full purchase price.End of example
You can't claim a deduction for the cost of items that you use to take your food or drink to work, or use at work, even when travelling overnight. For example, you can't claim for:
- a lunch bag or lunch box
- cooler or esky
- travel mug, thermos or keep cup
- plate, bowl and cutlery.
Example: travel mug
Olivia is a train driver and uses a travel mug while she is driving. Olivia only uses the mug while at work.
Olivia can't claim a deduction for the cost of her travel mug as it's a private expense.End of example
Example: satchel for personal items
Arki buys a messenger satchel for $220 to carry his lunch and snacks, personal medical kit and private grooming items. He also carries a mini tablet for his work.
Arki also uses the satchel outside of work hours for carrying personal items.
Arki's use of the satchel is not mainly for work purposes, therefore he can't claim a deduction for the satchel.End of example
Bags, cases, luggage and similar are generally depreciating assets which decline in value over time.
How you treat and work out your deduction will depend on if the item cost:
You claim the deduction in your tax return as other work-related expenses. For instructions on how to complete your tax return, see Lodgment options for preparing your tax return.
An immediate deduction is available for items that cost $300 or less, if you use them more than 50% of the time for a work purpose. You must satisfy the conditions of 4 tests to claim an immediate deduction.
You can't do this if the item is part of a set that cost more than $300, or is identical or substantially identical to similar items that together cost more than $300. In this case you claim for the decline in value of the assets.
- cost more than $300
- forms part of a set that together cost more than $300
- is identical or substantially identical to other items that together cost more than $300.
Example: bag for a work laptop
Maria is an account executive employee. Her job requires her to regularly attend meetings with clients. She has to take her work laptop, phone and the client's file with her to the meetings.
Maria frequently works from home and sometimes goes directly to a client meeting before heading into the office. She buys a bag for $565 that she uses to carry her work laptop and phone, chargers and client briefs. She carries her cash and cards, personal phone and other personal items in a smaller clutch bag.
As Maria's bag is suitable to carry all the items that are necessary for her to transport for work, Maria can claim a deduction for the decline in value of the bag over its effective life.End of example
Work out your deduction for the decline in value for a depreciating asset, using our Depreciation and capital allowances tool.
You can manually calculate the decline in value of a depreciating asset using either the prime cost method or diminishing value method.
You must keep records to support your deduction for work use of bags and cases, such as:
- receipts for items you buy
- evidence that you need to use the item to carry items for work purposes
- a diary or similar record that shows how you work out your percentage of work-related use.
If you are claiming the decline in value of an asset over its effective life, you also need to keep records that show how you calculated decline in value.
For more information on general record keeping requirements and formats, see records you need to keep.Deductions for bags, cases, luggage, lunch boxes and travel mugs you use for work.