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Direct carer expenses P–S

Last updated 2 June 2023

Details on claiming common community support worker or direct carer 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 when taking client out

Karyne is a disabilities support worker and drives Mabel to her physiotherapy appointment at the local health centre. Karyne pays to park under the centre because it has direct lift access up to the physio.

Karyne can claim a deduction for her parking expenses.

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 patients or clients 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.

Phone, data and internet expenses

You can claim a deduction for 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 travelling for work. This is because these 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.

For more information, see:

Example: calculating phone expenses

Isabella's role as a disability support worker requires her to use her mobile phone for work purposes to make appointments for clients and to contact her clients and her supervisor. She is on a set plan of $70 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

Each month Isabella receives an itemised bill, that includes details of her individual phone calls.

Isabella prints out her monthly bill and for one month she highlights her work-related calls. She also marks on the itemised bill who she has phoned. For example, work-related calls she makes to set up appointments for her clients. .

Out of the 240 phone calls she had made in a 4-week period, Isabella works out 96 of the individual phone calls are for work.

Isabella calculates her work-related percentage as follows:

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

96 ÷ 240 = 40%

Since Isabella only worked 48 weeks of the year (11 months), she calculates her work-related mobile phone expenses deductions as follows:

Number of months worked × amount per month × work-related use percentage = deductible amount

11 × $70 × 40% = $308

End of example

Removal and relocation expenses

You can’t claim a deduction for the cost to transfer or relocate to a new work location. This is the case whether the move is a condition of your existing job or you are taking up a new job.

Self-education expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if it directly relates to your employment as a community support worker or direct carer and it:

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

You can't claim a deduction if the self-education or study course:

  • 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 and study expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course 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 (for example, a laptop or a computer) 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 and training support loans. 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: study directly relevant to employment

Veronica is a disability support worker and to improve her current skills she undertakes a Certificate IV in Individual Support. When she completes this course Veronica will be able to apply a broad range of specialist knowledge and skills in her role as a disability support worker.

Veronica can claim the expenses she incurs to undertake the course as a deduction because it will maintain and improve the skills and knowledge she needs to perform her current duties.

End of example


Example: study isn't relevant to current duties

Edith works part time as a care assistant whilst studying a Bachelor of Nursing. Her general duties involve helping clients with:

  • daily tasks (such as dressing)
  • carrying out housework (such as cleaning or food shopping)
  • organising leisure activities to provide mental stimulation.

Edith is undertaking her Bachelor of Nursing to obtain employment as a registered nurse.

Edith can't claim a deduction for the expenses she incurs to do her Bachelor of Nursing, because it:

  • isn't relevant to her current duties as a care assistant
  • will open up a new income earning activity as a registered nurse.
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 community support worker or direct carer.

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 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 of your expenses.

Example: attending a work-related conference

Felix is an employee disability support worker. He attends the Disability Support Workers Conference each year to participate in workshops and to hear from keynote speakers on current issues affecting the industry.

Felix can claim a deduction for the cost of attending the conference if he pays to attend and his employer doesn't reimburse him. This is because he is maintaining or increasing his knowledge, capabilities and skills needed to earn his income as a disability support worker.

End of example

Sleepover shift expenses

You can't claim a deduction for expenses incurred during a sleepover shift, even where a sleepover allowance is paid. A sleepover allowance is paid as compensation for the inconvenience of spending the night at a client's residence. It isn't to compensate for additional expenses.

Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens

You can claim a deduction for the work-related use of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if you:

  • must work in the sun for extended periods
  • use these items to protect yourself from the real and likely risk of illness or injury while at work.

This includes prescription sunglasses and anti-glare glasses.

You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the products if you also wear them for private purposes.

Example: sunglasses deductible

Lola is an employee carer for disabled children. Her duties involve her spending time outdoors doing physical activities with the children. During a typical day, Lola spends all but a couple of hours working outdoors and wears sunglasses to protect her eyes from the sun. Lola also wears her sunglasses on the weekend.

Lola can claim a deduction for the cost of her sunglasses. As she also wears them when she is not working, the cost will have to be apportioned on a fair and reasonable basis.

End of example

For more community support worker or direct carers' expenses, see: