ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Flight crew expenses A–F

Details on claiming common flight crew expenses.

Last updated 2 June 2024

Car expenses

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

  • live a long way from your usual or regular 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, or where you had shifting places of employment.

To be able to claim a deduction for the cost of trips between home and work while carrying bulky tools or equipment, all the following conditions must be 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 merely as a matter of choice. For example, if your employer provides secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

You can't claim a deduction for transporting your luggage to and from the airport.

You are considered to have shifting places of employment where you have no fixed place of work and you continually travel from one work site to another before returning home.

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, travelling from the airport to your second job as a yoga instructor
  • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from a customer service seminar at head office to the airport to commence your shift.
  • from home directly to an alternative workplace – for example, travelling from home to a training centre to attend a work-related training course.

You can't claim car expenses for a car you use under a salary sacrifice or novated lease arrangement. This is because it's usually your employer leasing the car from the financing company and making it available for your use. You can however claim additional work-related expenses you incur that are associated with your work use of the car such as parking and tolls.

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 to 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 there is no requirement 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 between home and regular place of work

Jenny works for a regional airline and is required to be on standby. She regularly checks-in with her employer via the internet and mobile phone and occasionally is contacted at home after regular hours for shift work or to attend to other matters.

Although Jenny is at home on standby, her travel between home and work is private travel and can't be claimed as a deduction.

End of example


Example: travelling directly between 2 separate workplaces

Mia is a flight attendant who has a second job as a yoga instructor. On most days, Mia travels directly from the yoga studio to the airport to start her afternoon shift with ABC Airlines.

Mia can claim a deduction for the cost of her travel from the yoga studio to her second job at the airport as she is travelling between 2 separate workplaces.

End of example


Example: travel to an alternative place of work for training

David was recently designated as a first-aid officer to assist in emergency work situations. He travels from the airport to attend a first-aid training course while still on duty and then travels directly home.

The cost of the journey from the airport to the first-aid training course and then home is deductible. David can also claim a deduction for the cost of the training course if he personally incurs the expense to attend.

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, business attire worn by office 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 yourself from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, steel-capped boots, hi-vis vests or fire-resistant 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 and closed shoes.
  • occupation-specific – clothing 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 and you wear the uniform at work.

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

Example: deduction for compulsory uniform

Alex is a flight attendant employed by Airline ABC. Her employer has a strict uniform policy. Alex is provided with the shirts, skirts and pants with the corporate logo on them by her employer. Alex must buy her own stockings and shoes.

The uniform policy for Airline ABC describes stockings, which must be Brand X and grey-mist in colour, and the shoes which must be black leather court shoes with heels of a particular height. Failure by Alex to comply with the airline's uniform directive and orders of dress will result in disciplinary action.

Alex doesn't wear either the Brand X grey-mist stockings or the black leather court shoes when she isn't at work.

A deduction is allowable for the cost of Alex's Brand X grey-mist stockings and black leather court shoes as they form an integral part of her compulsory uniform specified in the Airline ABC uniform guidelines.

End of example


Example: deduction for a second pair of shoes

Sarah is a flight attendant for an international airline. Her employer supplies each flight attendant with a pair of shoes that meets their strict compulsory uniform policy.

Sarah found that she needed another pair of shoes and decided to buy herself a second pair. The shoes that Sarah bought meet all of the conditions set out in her employer's uniform policy (colour, style and type), with the additional benefit of being more comfortable.

Sarah can claim a deduction for the cost of the shoes that she bought as they meet the conditions of the strict compulsory uniform policy set by her employer and she uses them exclusively for work.

End of example


Example: deduction for a single item of distinctive clothing

Karen is a flight attendant for a regional airline travelling from Perth to the mining towns in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Her employer provides her with a blue shirt with the company's logo and name printed on the shirt.

Karen must wear this shirt at all times when she is at work. The shirt is only worn by employees of the company and isn't available for purchase by the general public. Her employer expects Karen to be well presented but doesn't stipulate what colour or style of the other clothing and footwear which must be worn with the shirt.

Karen's stockings, trousers, skirts and shoes are items of ordinary clothing and don't form part of a uniform.

Karen can't claim a deduction for the cost or maintenance of any trousers, skirts, stockings or shoes she buys to wear to work. These clothing items are of a conventional nature and therefore they are a private expense.

Karen can claim a deduction for the laundry and maintenance costs of the shirt supplied by her employer as they are compulsory to wear.

If this shirt was not supplied by her employer and Karen had to buy it, she would be entitled to a deduction for its cost as well as the laundry and maintenance costs.

End of example

Drivers licence

You can't claim a deduction for the cost 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.

Entertainment and social functions

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of any entertainment, fundraising or social functions. This applies even if they are compulsory, non-compulsory or you discuss work matters at the event. Entertainment and social functions include the cost of:

  • work breakfasts, lunches or dinners
  • attendance at sporting events
  • gala or social nights
  • concerts or dances
  • cocktail parties
  • other similar types of functions or events.

These are private expenses because these events do not have a direct connection to your work duties.

You also can’t claim the cost of travelling to and from functions.

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.

Example: first aid course

Leanne is required to hold a first aid qualification in her role as a flight attendant as she is required to use these skills and knowledge in the event of an in-flight emergency.

Her employer enrols and pays for her to attend the training course as part of her induction as a flight attendant. She attends the training onsite at the flight attendant training centre with a group of other flight attendants.

Leanne can't claim a deduction for the cost of the course as her employer pays for her to attend the course.

End of example

Food and drink cart shortages

You can claim a deduction for a shortage that you must cover for the food and drink cart service.

Example: deduction for shortage

Ray is an employee flight attendant. Ray's employer doesn't prove food and drink to every passenger but instead offers food and drink for purchase. During a food and drink service, Ray types the wrong amount into the portable EFTPOS machine. Instead of typing $24 he puts $2.40. Ray and the passenger don't notice the error.

After the flight lands and the cart is reconciled with the amount charged, the error is found. As Ray made the mistake, he is responsible for making up the shortage of $21.60. The amount is deducted from his pay and shown on his payslip.

Ray can claim a deduction for the shortfall of $21.60. The payslip showing the amount has been deducted from his pay can be used as evidence of the expense.

End of example

For more flight crew expenses, see: