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Cleaner expenses P–S

Details on claiming common cleaner expenses.

Last updated 2 June 2024

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 regular place of work. These are private expenses.

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

Example: parking expenses you can claim

Pam is a cleaner in a high-rise accommodation building in Melbourne. She works at several different locations each day and drives her own car between jobs. Pam pays for parking at the building and her employer does not reimburse her for this expense.

Pam keeps a copy of each parking receipt and can claim a deduction for the costs she incurs for parking expenses.

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 don't 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 travelling for work. This is because these are personal phone calls.

For more information, see:

Example: calculating phone expenses

Sebastian uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $49 a month.

He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month that includes details of his individual phone calls.

At least once a year, Sebastian prints out his account and highlights the work-related phone calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is phoning for work – for example, his manager and his clients.

Out of the 300 phone calls he has made in a 4-week period, Sebastian works out that 30 (10%) of the individual phone call expenses billed to him are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

Sebastian calculates his phone calls for work purposes as follows:

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

30 ÷ 300 = 0.10 (that is 10%)

Sebastian can claim 10% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes:

$49 × 0.10 = $4.90

Since Sebastian was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

10.6 months × $4.90 = $51.94

End of example

Protective items

You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items, equipment and products – for example, safety glasses and personal protective equipment such as, gloves, face masks or sanitiser. You must use these items:

  • to protect you from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment or while performing your work duties – for example, working in close proximity to clients or customers while working
  • in direct connection to earning your employment income.

You can also claim the costs you incur to repair, replace or clean protective items.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer:

  • supplies the protective items
  • pays for the protective items
  • reimburses you for the costs you incur to buy protective items.

Example: protective equipment required for a specific role

Will works as a cleaner at an airport. When cleaning the restrooms, he is required to wear safety glasses, a face mask and heavy-duty gloves to protect himself from germs and the cleaning chemicals he uses. If he doesn't wear them, he is at risk of injury or illness.

Will's employer doesn't provide these items.

There is connection between the expenses Will incurs on the safety items and the protection the items provide for him during his employment. He can therefore claim a deduction for the cost of the safety glasses, face mask and heavy-duty gloves.

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 cleaner and at the time the expense was incurred 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 either:

  • 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.

If you study at home, you may also be able to claim work from home running expenses, but not occupancy expenses.

You can't claim a deduction for the repayments 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 (VSL)
  • Australian Apprenticeship Support Loans (AASL) (formerly Trade Support Loans (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

Trung is employed as a part-time cleaner. This work supports him while he is studying for a Bachelor of Nursing. Once he completes his degree, Trung will be able to work as a registered nurse.

Trung can't claim his study expenses as a deduction because he is:

  • working to support his study
  • not studying to increase his skills, knowledge or income from his work activities as a cleaner.
End of example

Seminars, conferences and training courses

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

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 you can only claim the work-related portion. For example, you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week.

Example: work-related workshop

Gary, a cleaner, attends a work-related workshop on effective systems for keeping homes clean and healthy costing $650. Gary pays for the cost of the workshop and is not reimbursed by his employer.

As the workshop is work-related, Gary can deduct the total cost of the workshop.

Gary gets a receipt for the workshop when he pays. He takes a photo of the receipt and uploads the photo to the myDeductions tool in the ATO app. Gary knows this information will be available to upload to his tax return at the end of the income year.

End of example

For more cleaner expenses, see: