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Income and allowances

Income and allowance amounts you need to include in your tax return and amounts you don’t include.

Last updated 2 June 2024

Amounts you do and don't include

You must include all the income you receive during the income year as a cleaner in your tax return, this includes:

  • salary and wages, including cash or bonus payments
  • allowances
  • compensation and insurance payments – for example, payments made under an income protection insurance policy to replace salary and wages.

Don't include as income any reimbursements you receive.

Your income statement or a payment summary will show all your salary, wages and allowances for the income year.


You must include all allowances your employer reports on your income statement or payment summary as income in your tax return.

An allowance is where your employer pays you an amount as an estimate of costs you might incur:

  • to help you pay for a work expense – for example, tools and equipment
  • as compensation for an aspect of your work such as working conditions or industry peculiarities – for example, working in the cold
  • as an amount for having special duties, skills or qualifications – for example, first aid qualifications.

Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement or payment summary. Find out about declaring income and claiming deductions for Allowances not on your income statement.

Allowances not on your income statement or payment summary

If you receive an allowance from your employer, it does not automatically mean you can claim a deduction.

Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement or payment summary, you will find these amounts on your payslip. You don't need to declare these allowances as income in your tax return, unless you're claiming a deduction. Examples include travel allowances and overtime meal allowances.

If you spend the allowance amount on work expenses, you:

  • don't include it as income in your tax return
  • can't claim any deductions for the work expenses the allowance covers.

If you're not claiming a deduction, you don't need to keep any records of the amounts you spend.

If you spend your allowance on a deductible work-related expense, to claim a deduction you:

  • include the allowance as income in your tax return
  • include a claim for the work expenses you incur in your tax return
  • must have records of your expenses.

If you can claim a deduction, the amount of the deduction is not usually the same amount as the allowance you receive.

Allowances and claiming a deduction

The following table sets out allowances you may receive and when you can claim a deduction.

Allowance types, reason for the allowance and if you can claim a deduction

Reason for allowance

Example of allowance type

Deduction (Yes or No)

Compensation for an aspect of your work that is unpleasant, special or dangerous or for industry peculiarities

Toilet cleaning allowance

Cold work allowance


These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses

An amount for certain expenses

Uniform allowance


If you incur deductible expenses

An amount for special skills

A first aid certificate


If you incur deductible expenses


Example: allowance assessable, no deduction allowable

Janelle works in a meat processing plant as a cleaner. Janelle's employer pays her an additional 55c per hour for each hour she spends cleaning an area that is kept at below 0 degrees Celsius.

At the end of the income year, Janelle's employer shows the total amount of the allowance on her income statement.

Janelle must include the allowance as income in her tax return.

Janelle can't claim a deduction because the allowance compensates her for working in certain conditions. It is not a payment to cover deductible expenses.

End of example


Example: allowance assessable, deduction allowable

Benji works for a commercial cleaning company. Rather than provide each employee with cleaning equipment, Benji's employer provides them with a cleaning equipment allowance. The allowance is $850 and is shown on Benji's income statement at the end of the income year.

During the 2023–24 income year, Benji's vacuum cleaner breaks down so he buys a new one. The cost of Benji's new vacuum cleaner is $1,200.

Benji must declare the cleaning equipment allowance of $850 as income in his 2023–24 tax return.

Benji can claim a deduction in his 2023–24 tax return for the decline in value of the vacuum cleaner over its effective life.

Benji uses the depreciation and capital allowances tool to work out the decline in value deduction for the 2023–24 income year.

End of example


If your employer pays you the exact amount for expenses you incur (either before or after you incur them), the payment is a reimbursement.

A reimbursement is not an allowance.

If your employer reimburses you for expenses you incur:

  • you don't include the reimbursement as income in your tax return
  • you can't claim a deduction for the expenses.

Find out about cleaners: