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Guards and security employees expenses A–F

Details on claiming common guard and security employee expenses.

Last updated 17 June 2024

Car expenses

You can't claim a car expenses deduction for the 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
  • work outside normal business hours – for example, you're on-call, work weekends 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.

You're 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.

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 the 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 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, from your first job as a security guard directly to your second job as a bartender
  • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, between different venues where you perform your duties as a security guard.

You can’t claim a deduction when using a badged or unbadged vehicle provided by your employer, unless you covered the cost of fuel, were not reimbursed by your employer, and the cost was a result of you performing your employment duties.

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 cents per kilometre method or the logbook 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 worked 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.

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: no deduction for home to work travel

Winston is a security guard who works during the week at a bank in the city. Winston drives his own car into the city and parks in a secure parking centre. He wears his security guard uniform to work and carries a duffel bag containing a change of clothes, a pair of sneakers as well as his lunch and a drink bottle.

Winston can't claim any expenses relating to driving his car from home to work as the bag and its contents aren't essential to perform his employment duties and they aren't bulky. Even if the items were essential, the bag and its contents are not awkward to transport due to their size and weight and a motor vehicle is not the only way to transport them conveniently.

End of example


Example: travelling to work outside of regular hours

Penelope is an employee of a security company and works at the front desk of a high-rise office building. She typically works the day roster from 7:00 am until 2:00 pm. Penelope finishes work and returns home at the end of the day.

At 6:00 pm, she receives a phone call and is asked to return to work to backfill a colleague who has called in sick.

Even though Penelope is travelling to work outside her regular hours she can’t claim a deduction, it's still private travel between home and her regular workplace.

End of example


Example: on call with no fixed place of work

Edward is an employee of a large security firm. He is employed as a relief security guard so Edward is on call. When an employee is unavailable for their shift, Edward is called in to cover it.

In a normal week, Edward gets called into work 4 or 5 times and on each occasion, he works at a different location.

Edward can't claim a deduction for the cost of travelling between his home and each work location. The travel is undertaken to put Edward in the position start work.

Although Edward has no fixed place of work, Edward does not have shifting places of his employment. Travel is not a fundamental part of his employment and once he reports for duty, he stays at that location for the duration of his shift.

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, black pants and a white shirt worn by security guards.

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 that has protective features or functions that you wear to protect yourself from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, bullet-proof vest or high-vis vest. 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 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 and you wear the uniform at work.

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

Example: compulsory uniform with logo

Koen is a security guard. His employer requires him to wear a black polo shirt embroidered with their logo, plain black pants and black enclosed shoes when he is at work.

During the year Koen buys 2 of the polo shirts from his employer, three pairs of plain black pants and 2 pairs of black enclosed shoes that he only wears to work.

Koen can claim a deduction for the cost of buying the shirts as they are:

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

He can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying the black pants or shoes as they are items of a conventional nature even though he only wears them at work.

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.

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.

Firearms and guns

Where there is a direct connection to your work duties as a guard or security employee, you can claim a deduction for the:

  • decline in value of firearms and guns
  • maintenance of firearms and guns
  • cost of ammunition
  • costs you incur to renew a gun licence.

You can’t claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for these expenses.

Example: deduction for a firearm

Trang is an employee security guard. Due to the danger he faces while carrying out his duties, Trang is required to carry a firearm so he buys one at a cost of $1,200.

Trang's employer pays him a firearm allowance of $750, which is included on his income statement at the end of the income year.

Trang can claim a deduction for the decline in value of his firearm over its effective life. Trang must also include the firearm allowance of $750 in his tax return as income.

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.

Fitness expenses

You can't claim a deduction for health and fitness expenses because they are private expenses. This includes:

  • gym fees and conventional clothing worn at the gym including tracksuits, running or aerobic shoes, socks, sporting shirts or shorts
  • the cost of a program specifically designed to manage weight
  • the cost of normal food substitutes or the cost of food for special dietary purposes
  • the cost of vitamins, minerals or sports supplements, such as protein shakes.

Example: no deduction for gym fees or protein shakes

Benita works as a security guard in an office building. Her main duties are to ensure only authorised people enter the building, opening up the building in the morning and securing it at night.

Benita likes to keep fit so she joins her local gym and regularly consumes protein shakes.

Benita can't claim a deduction for her gym fees or the cost of her protein shakes. The expenses are private.

End of example

For more guard and security employee expenses, see: