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Factory worker expenses P–S

Last updated 9 June 2023

Details on claiming factory worker 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.

Phone, data and internet expenses

You can claim a deduction for phone, data and internet costs for the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.

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.

For more information, see:

Protective items

You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items if you wear them to protect you from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment or while performing your work duties.

To be considered protective, the equipment must provide a sufficient degree of protection against the risks of illness or injury you are exposed to in carrying out your work duties. Protective items can include safety glasses, helmets and breathing masks.

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
  • reimburses you for the cost you incur to buy protective items.

Example: deduction for protective equipment

Wiremu works in a food manufacturing factory. Wiremu buys a pair of safety glasses and good quality ear plugs as he must wear them while his on duty. If Wiremu doesn't wear these items, he is at risk of injuries to his eyes and damaging his hearing.

Wiremu can claim a deduction for the cost of the safety glasses and ear plugs. These items protect him from the risk of injury while he is carrying out his employment duties.

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 factory worker 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 the self-education expense if at the time you incurred the 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 and study 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 claim a deduction for transport expenses for:

  • travel between your home and the place of education and then back home
  • the first leg of the trip  
    • when you travel from home to the place of education and then on to work
    • when you travel from work to a place of education and then home
  • travel between work and the place of education and then back to work.

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 (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: course to improve skills and knowledge

Frank is an apprentice metal machinist. He works in a factory and attends technical college to undertake his apprenticeship course for 2 consecutive days each fortnight.

Frank's employer's pay for his course fees but they don't pay for any of his other expenses. Frank travels from his home to the technical college by public transport and buys the textbooks he needs for his apprenticeship course.

Frank can claim a deduction for the cost of taking public transport to and from his home to the technical college and for the cost of his textbooks. The course Frank is taking improves the skill and knowledge he requires for his current duties. The course will also result in an increase in pay from his current employment.

Frank can't claim a deduction for the course fees because he doesn't incur the cost. His employer pays for the course fees directly.

End of example

 

Example: course doesn't have connection with current duties

Paolo works on a production line in a factory. He has recently arrived from overseas and is doing a language course to improve his English speaking skills. Paolo's enrols in the course after encouragement from his employer.

Paolo can't claim a deduction for the costs of this course. The course doesn't relate to his current income-earning activities. Even though Paolo's employer encourages him to enrol in the course, the expenses are private. The course is too general.

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 factory worker.

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: work-related training course

Ethan works as a production manager in a factory producing solar panels. He attends a 5 day training course in Sweden dealing with how to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing solar panels and the cost efficiencies it creates.

Ethan's employer pays for the training and his flights to Sweden but Ethan pays for his accommodation and meals while he is there.

Ethan arrives the night before the course commences and travels home the day after it finishes.

Ethan can claim a deduction for the cost of his accommodation and meals while he is in Sweden attending the training course. The course relates to his current duties as a production manager in a solar panel factory and his sole purpose for the travel to Sweden is to attend the course.

Ethan can't claim a deduction for the cost of the training or his flights because he did not incur that cost. His employer pays for those expenses directly.

End of example

Stationery

You can claim a deduction for the cost of logbooks, diaries, pens and notepads that you buy and use for work-related purposes.

For more factory worker expenses, see:

QC51225