Income and allowance amounts you need to include in your tax return and amounts you don’t include.
You must include all the income you receive as a firefighter during the income year in your tax return, this includes:
- salary and wages, including cash or bonus payments
- 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 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, being on call
- 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. Find out about declaring income and claiming deductions for Allowances not on your income statement.
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, 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 have receive.
Allowances and claiming a deduction
The following table sets out allowances you may receive and when 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
These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses
An amount for certain expenses
If you incur deductible expenses
An amount for special skills
A first aid certificate
If you incur deductible expenses
Example: allowance is assessable income, no deduction allowable
Joe is a firefighter. Occasionally Joe does special administrative duties. For each week he does these duties, his employer pays him a duty allowance.
At the end of the income year, the allowance is shown on Joe's income statement.
Joe must declare the duty allowance as income in his tax return.
Joe can't claim a deduction because he doesn't incur any deductible expenses. The allowance compensates him for taking on special duties. It is not to help pay for any work-related expenses that Joe may incur.End of example
Example: allowance is assessable income, deduction allowable
Bronwyn is a firefighter. During the income year, Bronwyn uses her own car to travel:
- from the station to a training facility to attend training
- to attend meetings at other stations.
Bronwyn's employer pays her 78c per kilometre when she uses her car for work purposes.
At the end of the income year, her income statement shows receives an allowance of $249.60 for using her car for work (320 kms × $0.78).
Bronwyn must include the car allowance as income in her tax return.
Bronwyn can claim a deduction for the cost of using her car for work purposes. She can't claim the amount of the allowance she receives. Bronwyn must calculate the amount of the deduction using the records she keeps whenever she uses her own car for work purposes.
In the past year Bronwyn has kept a record of the work trips she does using her own car, but she doesn't keep a logbook. Her records show she travels 320 kms for work purposes.
As Bronwyn has not kept a logbook, she uses the cents per kilometre method to claim a deduction. The cents per kilometre method rate for the income year is 78c per kilometre.
Bronwyn claims a deduction of $249.60. She calculates her deduction as 320 kms × $0.78 = $3,287.70.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 isn't considered to be an allowance.
If your employer reimburses you for expenses you incur, you:
- you don't include the reimbursement as income in your tax return
- can't claim a deduction for the expenses.
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