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Adult industry expenses G–O

Details on claiming common adult industry worker expenses.

Last updated 2 June 2024

Glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses

You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses, even if you need to wear them while working. These are private expenses.

Grooming expenses

You can't claim a deduction for grooming expenses such as, hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even if:

  • you may receive an allowance for grooming
  • your employer expects you to be well groomed when at work.

You can claim a deduction for stage makeup and products you use for removing stage makeup.

Some brands of makeup sold in department stores are considered stage makeup, and some stage makeup stores sell makeup that isn't greasepaint based. In both cases, you can claim the costs of this makeup.

Example: grooming expenses

Fiona is an exotic dancer. Fiona's employer expects her to be well groomed and to wear her makeup in a particular way.

When she is dancing, Fiona uses a lot of hair spray to keep her hair in place. Fiona wears stage foundation, powder and lipstick but uses general makeup products for everything else. She only uses the stage makeup for work.

To keep her hair in good condition and remove the build-up of hair spray, Fiona has a hair treatment at her hairdresser every week.

Fiona can claim a deduction for the cost of the stage makeup (foundation, powder and lipstick) she buys to wear on stage.

Fiona can't claim a deduction for her normal makeup or her hair treatments. These are private expenses.

End of example

Laundry and maintenance

You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur to wash, dry and iron clothing you wear at work if it's:

  • protective
  • occupation-specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing such as jeans or general business attire
  • a uniform either non-compulsory and registered by your employer on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing or compulsory.

This also includes laundromat and dry-cleaning expenses.

We consider that a reasonable basis for working out your laundry claim is:

  • $1 per load if it only contains work-related clothing from one of the categories above
  • 50c per load if you mix personal items of clothing with work-related items.

You can claim the actual costs you incur for repairs and dry-cleaning expenses.

If your laundry claim (excluding dry-cleaning expenses) is $150 or less, you don't need to keep records. However, you will still need to be able to show how you work out your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.

Example: laundry for compulsory uniform

Tom is a bartender at an adult entertainment club. His employer provides work shirts with the company logo which must be worn when he is at work. Tom must also wear smart black pants.

Tom can claim a deduction for the laundering of his work shirts as the logo makes them unique and distinctive to the organisation he works for. He can't claim the cost of the shirts as he didn't incur the expense.

Tom can't claim a deduction for buying or laundering of his work pants even though he only wears them to work. Black pants without a logo or other features are not unique and distinctive to the organisation where he works. They are conventional items of clothing even though he only wears them to work.

Tom works for 50 weeks during the income year and washes his shirts twice a week in a mixed load with other clothes.

Tom calculates his laundry claim as follows:

Number of claimable laundry loads per week × number of weeks worked = total number of claimable laundry loads

2 × 50 weeks = 100 weeks

Total number of claimable laundry loads × reasonable cost per load = total claim amount

100 × $0.50 per load = $50

Tom can claim a deduction of $50 for laundry expenses. As Tom's total deduction for laundry expenses is under $150, he isn't required to keep written evidence of his laundry expenses. However, if asked, Tom will still be required to explain how he calculated his claim.

End of example

Massage expenses

You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of massage or other alternative therapies, these are private expenses.

Meal and snack expenses

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume during your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. These are private expenses.

You can claim:

  • overtime meal expenses, but only if you buy and eat the meal while you are performing overtime and you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial award
  • the cost of meals you incur when you are travelling overnight for the purpose of carrying out your employment duties (travel expenses).

Example: no deduction for meal expenses

Billy works in an adult entertainment bar. During his shift, he gets a 30 minute meal break. During his break, Billy buys some fruit, almonds and large bottle of water to eat and drink while he is on his break and during the remainder of his shift.

Billy can't claim a deduction for the food and drink he buys. It is a private expense.

End of example


You can claim a deduction for the work-related part of the cost of multimedia, if it's directly related to your current employment as an employee in the adult industry. For example, you download music files to use for rehearsals.

Example: music downloaded for routine

Lucy is an employee exotic dancer. On each of her shifts, Lucy does several routines to different songs. Lucy's employer asks the dancers to provide the music for her routines so there is no mix up with them during the shift. Lucy pays to download each song and for the USB stick she saves them onto.

Lucy can claim a deduction for the cost of the songs she downloads, and the USB stick she uses to save them onto.

End of example

Newspapers and other news services, magazines and professional publications

The cost of newspapers, other news services and magazines are generally private expenses and not deductible.

You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying or subscribing to a professional publication, newspaper, news service or magazine if you can show:

  • a direct connection between your specific work duties and the content
  • the content is specific to your employment and is not general in nature.

If you use the publication for work and private purposes, you can only claim the portion related to your work-related use.

Overtime meal expenses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime, if all of the following apply:

  • you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement
  • the allowance is on your income statement or payment summary as a separate allowance
  • you include the allowance in your tax return as income.

You can't claim a deduction if the allowance is not shown as a separate allowance on your income statement or payment summary.

You generally need to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction. However, each year we set an amount you can claim for overtime meal expenses without receipts. We call this the 'reasonable amount'. If you receive an overtime meal allowance, are claiming a deduction and spent:

  • up to reasonable amount, you don’t have to get and keep receipts
  • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for your expenses.

In all cases, you need to be able to show:

  • you spent the money
  • how you worked out your claim.

Example: overtime meals with an allowance

Carl works at an adult entertainment bar. During the income year, Carl works overtime 10 times after completing his normal 8-hour shift. He receives an overtime meal break and overtime meal allowance of $20 under the award each time this occurs.

Carl generally buys and eats a meal costing $15 during overtime. This is less than the reasonable amount. Carl's income statement shows the overtime meal allowances as a separate allowance totalling $200. That is, 10 overtime shifts × $20.

In his tax return, Carl includes the allowance as income and claims a deduction. He works out his deduction as:

$15 × 10 overtime shifts = $150.

That is the actual amount he spent on overtime meals multiplied by the number of overtime shifts.

As the amount Carl spends on his meals is less than the reasonable amount, Carl doesn't have to keep receipts. However, if asked, Carl will have to show that he spent the $150 on overtime meals and how he worked out his claim

End of example

For more information, see TD 2023/3 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2023–24 income year?

For more adult industry worker expenses, see: