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Factory worker expenses A–F

Last updated 9 June 2023

Details on claiming factory worker expenses.

Car expenses

You can't claim a car expenses deduction for normal trips between your home and your regular place of work. These are private expenses, even if you:

  • live a long way from your usual workplace
  • have to work outside normal business hours (for example, weekend or early morning shifts).

In limited circumstances, you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work. You can claim a deduction for the cost of these trips if all the following conditions are met:

  • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties.
  • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that    
    • because of the size and weight, they are awkward to transport
    • they can only be transported conveniently using a motor vehicle
  • there is no secure storage for such items at the workplace.

It will not be sufficient if you transport the tools or equipment only as a matter of choice. For example, if your employer provides reasonably secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

You can also claim a deduction for the cost of using a car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase agreement) when you drive:

  • directly between separate jobs on the same day – for example, driving from your job as a factory worker to your second job as a bar assistant
  • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, driving between a warehouse and another work site
  • from home directly to an alternative workplace – for example, travelling from home to your employer's head office to attend a meeting.

To claim a deduction, you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the logbook method or the cents per kilometre method to work out your deduction.

If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to help you work out the percentage of work-related use along with evidence of your car expenses.

If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need be able to show how you work out your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

If you claim your work-related car expenses using one of the above methods, you can’t claim any further deductions in the same tax return for the same car. For example, petrol, servicing, and insurance costs.

To claim a deduction in your tax return, include the amount of your claim at Work-related car expenses. The Work-related car expenses calculator can help you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction.

You can’t use the cents per kilometre or logbook methods to work out your claim for a:

  • motorcycle
  • vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more (such as a ute)
  • vehicle that can transport 9 passengers or more (such as a minibus).

For these vehicles, you can claim the actual expenses you incur for your work-related travel. This includes costs such as fuel, oil, insurance and loan interest along with the decline in value of the vehicle. You must keep receipts for all your expenses and records to show your work-related use of the vehicle. Although you are not required to keep a logbook, it is the easiest way to calculate your work-related use of the vehicle.

To claim a deduction for actual expenses you incur for a vehicle not defined as a car, include the amount at Work-related travel expenses.

Example: travel from home to work

Geoffrey uses his car to travel between his home and the factory he works at. He carries his steel-capped boots that is he must wear when working and some hand tools which uses.

Geoffrey can't claim a deduction for the car expenses he incurs for the trips between his home and the factory every day. The tools and equipment Geoffrey carries each day to work are not bulky. The travel is a private expense.

End of example

 

Example: travel between workplaces for different employers

Mick is an employee in a factory manufacturing beds. Mick also works at a bar part-time. On a Thursday and Friday, after his shift at the factory finishes, he travels directly to his shift at the bar.

Mick can claim a deduction for the car expenses he incurs for the trips directly from the factory to the bar on a Thursday and Friday.

End of example

 

Example: travel to an alternative workplace

David is an employee factory worker. Once a month, David drives from the factory he works at to his employer's head office to attend a meeting. After the meeting, David drives home.

David can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs for the trips from the factory to his employer's head office. David can also claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs for the trips from his employer's head office to his home.

End of example

Child care

You can't claim a deduction for child care (including school holidays and before and after school care) when you're working. It's a private expense, and the expenses have no direct connection to earning your income.

Clothing and uniform expenses (including footwear)

With a few exceptions, clothing can't be deducted as a work-related expense.

You can't claim conventional clothing (including footwear) as a work-related expense, even if your employer requires you to wear it and you only wear these items of clothing at work.

'Conventional clothing' is everyday clothing worn by people regardless of their occupation – for example, jeans and t-shirts worn by factory workers

You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's in one of the following categories:

  • protective – clothing with protective features or functions you wear to protect you from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, steel-capped boots, fire-resistant clothing, or boiler suits that protect conventional clothing. Conventional clothes you wear at work are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work. This includes jeans, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, closed shoes.
  • occupation-specific – clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person with a particular profession, trade or occupation. For example, a judge's robes or a chef's chequered pants). Items traditionally worn in a profession are not occupation-specific where the clothing is worn by multiple professions.
  • a compulsory uniform – clothing that your employer strictly and consistently enforces you wear by workplace agreement or policy and distinctly identifies either    
    • you as an employee working for a particular employer
    • the products or services your employer provides
  • a non-compulsory uniform – clothing that your employer registers on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing with AusIndustry.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer buys, repairs or replaces your clothing.

Example: compulsory uniform with logo

Mike has to buy and wear shirts with his employer company logo embroidered on it. As part of his uniform, he also has to wear black pants and black shoes.

Mike can claim a deduction for the cost of buying and maintaining the shirts as they are:

  • distinctive items with the employer's logo
  • compulsory for him to wear at work.

However, he can't claim the cost of buying or cleaning his black pants or shoes as they are items of a conventional nature.

End of example

 

Example: employer registered uniform with AusIndustry

Leda is a factory worker, and she also works in the reception area for a number of hours each day. Reception staff wear a polo shirt in the company's colours monogrammed with the company logo. It's not compulsory for a staff member to wear the polo shirt, but the employer encourages staff members to do so. Leda's employer has registered the shirt with AusIndustry.

Leda can claim a deduction for the cost of buying and maintaining the polo shirt. The shirt if a non-compulsory uniform that has been registered with AusIndustry.

End of example

 

Example: protective clothing

Renee is an employee factory worker. At the end of her shift, Renee must use a high-pressure water hose to wash down the equipment in her section of the factory. To protect herself from getting wet and from the dirt that comes off the equipment, Renee wears a waterproof jacket, waterproof pants and gum boots. Renee's employer provide these items.

The waterproof jacket, waterproof pants and gum boots are protective clothing. The items protect her from the risk of illness and injury and they also protect her clothing. However, Renee can't claim a deduction for the protective clothing because she did not buy them.

End of example

Drivers licence

You can't claim a deduction to get or renew your drivers licence, even if you must have it as a condition of employment. This is a private expense.

You can claim a deduction for additional costs you incur to get a special licence or condition on your licence to perform your work duties. For example, the cost you incur to get a heavy vehicle permit.

Fines and penalties

You can't claim a deduction for any fines or penalties you get when you travel to work or during work. Fines may include parking and speeding fines or penalties.

Example: speeding fine

Chris works in a factory as a supervisor. He travels from the factory to the warehouse to pick up some parts that are required. On his way to the factory, Chris gets a speeding fine which he pays.

Chris can't claim a deduction for the speeding fine even though he was travelling for work purposes at the time he was fined.

End of example

First aid courses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you are both:

  • a designated first aid person
  • need to complete a first aid training course to assist in emergency work situations.

You can’t claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for the cost of the course.

For more factory worker expenses, see:

QC51225