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Call centre operator expenses P–S

Last updated 8 June 2023

Details on claiming call centre operator expenses.

Parking fees and tolls

You can't claim a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of work. You also can't claim a deduction for tolls you incur for trips between your home and work. This is a private expense.

You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips.

Example: parking fees

Elias drives his own car to work each day and parks in the secure parking centre next to the IT company where he works in the call centre.

Once a month Elias drives his car to a training facility to complete mandatory training, required for his role in the call centre. He pays for parking and isn't reimbursed by his employer.

Elias can't claim a deduction for the cost of parking at his regular place of work.

However, he can claim a deduction for the cost of his parking at the training facility as he incurs this cost on a work-related trip.

End of example

Phone, data and internet expenses

You can claim a deduction for the phone, data and internet costs if you use your own phone or electronic devices for work purposes.

If your phone, data and internet use for work is incidental and you're not claiming more than $50 in total, you do not need to keep records.

If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill where you can identify your work-related phone calls and data use. You can’t claim a deduction if your employer:

  • provides you with a phone for work and pays for your usage
  • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

You can't claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while you're travelling for work. This is because they are personal phone calls.

If all or part of your work-related phone, data and internet expenses are incurred as a result of working from home and you use the revised fixed rate method to claim your working from home deductions, you can't claim a separate deduction for these expenses.

Example: calculating phone expenses

George manages a team of call centre operators and he uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He's on a set mobile phone plan of $49 each month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month by email, which includes details of the individual phone calls he has made. George regularly prints his monthly phone accounts and for one month he highlights his work-related phone calls. He also makes notes on the highlighted itemised account about who he has phoned, for example his team members.

At the end of the income year, George works out that of the 300 phone calls he has made, 45 of his calls are work-related.

He worked for 46 weeks of that year so George works out his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls

45 ÷ 300 = 0.15 (that is 15%)

George can claim 15% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, that is:

$49 × 0.15 = $7.35

George worked for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), so he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

10.6 months × $7.35 = $77.91

End of example

 

Example: work and private use

Sylvette is the manager of a call centre and uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and manage her appointments.

Sylvette also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes.

Sylvette keeps a diary for a 4-week period, recording the times she used the internet for work and private purposes. Sylvette's diary shows 10% of the time she spent using the internet was was for work-related activities and 90% was for private use.

As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

$1,200 × 0.10 = $120 for work-related internet use.

If anyone else in Sylvette's household accesses the internet connection, Sylvette must reduce her claim to account for their use.

End of example

Repairs to tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes, you can only claim an amount for your work-related use.

Self-education expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if they directly relate to your employment as a call centre operator and at the time you incur the expense it:

  • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
  • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment.

You can't claim a deduction if at the time you incur the self-education expense, it:

  • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
  • only relates in a general way to your current employment
  • enables you to get employment or change employment.

If your self-education expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course or tuition fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

You can't claim a deduction for the repayments (whether compulsory or voluntary) you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

  • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) (FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP)
  • VET Student Loans (VETSL)
  • Trade Support Loan Program (TSL)
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
  • Student Start-up Loan (SSL)

While course or tuition fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

Example: working to support study rather than studying to increase skills

Ben is employed in a call centre part-time. This work supports him while he is studying for a Bachelor of Business.

Ben can't claim his study expenses as a deduction because: :

  • undertaking the course enables Ben to get employment in a different field
  • he is working to support his study
  • the course he is undertaking doesn't maintain or improve the skills and knowledge he requires for his current work duties as a call centre operator
  • undertaking the course won't result in an increase in income from Ben's current work duties as a call centre operator.
End of example

Seminars, conferences and training courses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a call centre operator.

The costs you can claim includes fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course, for example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion.

Example: attending a conference

Lauren is a call centre operator and would like to improve her customer service skills. Lauren enrols in a conference about customer engagement which will allow her to learn about the best ways to engage with her clients.

Lauren can claim a deduction for the cost of the conference as it maintains or improves the skills and knowledge she needs in her current job.

End of example

 

Example: training maintains or improves current knowledge

Beth is employed as a call centre operator. Her employer has recently started using a new software program for record keeping. Beth decides to enrol in a training course to gain a better understanding of the new record keeping software which costs her $100.

Beth can claim a deduction for the cost of her training course as it maintains or improves the skills and knowledge she needs in her current job.

End of example

Stationery

You can claim a deduction for the cost of logbooks, diaries and pens that you use for work.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer provides or reimburses you for these expenses.

For more call centre operator expenses, see:

QC61553