Details on claiming common IT professional expenses.
You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses, even if you need to wear them while working. These are private expenses.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective glasses if you wear them to reduce the real and likely risk of illness or injury while working. Protective glasses include anti-glare or photochromatic glasses, sunglasses, safety glasses or goggles.
You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.
Example: deduction for safety glasses
Daisy is a computer system repairer. Occasionally repairs require Daisy to solder faulty parts. When she does any soldering, Daisy uses safety glasses to protect her eyes.
Daisy can claim a deduction for the cost of safety glasses she wears when she is soldering faulty computer parts. The safety glasses reduce the real and likely risk of injuring her eyes while she is working.End of example
You can claim a deduction for the cost to insure your tools and equipment to the extent that you use them for work-related purposes.
You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur to wash, dry and iron clothing you wear at work if it's:
- protective (for example, a hi-vis jacket)
- occupation specific and not a conventional everyday piece of clothing such as jeans or general business attire
- a uniform either non-compulsory and registered with AusIndustry or compulsory.
This also includes laundromat and dry-cleaning expenses.
We consider that a reasonable basis for working out your laundry claim is:
- $1 per load if it only contains clothing you wear at work from one of the categories above
- 50c per load if you mix personal items of clothing with work clothing from one of the categories above.
You can claim the actual costs you incurred for repairing and dry-cleaning expenses.
If your laundry claim (excluding dry-cleaning expenses) is $150 or less, you don't need to keep records but you will still need to calculate and be able to show how you worked out your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.
Example: When you can claim a laundry deduction for compulsory uniform
Chloe is a data analyst for an IT company. Her employer provides and requires staff to wear polo shirts with the company’s name and logo on them. It is a requirement for Chloe to wear plain black pants or a skirt to work.
Chloe can claim a deduction for the cost of laundering her shirts.
Even though Chloe’s employer requires her to wear black pants and skirts to work she can't claim a deduction for laundering these items. These items are conventional clothing and are not unique or distinctive to her employer.
Chloe works for 40 weeks of the income year and washes these items twice a week in a mixed load with other clothes.
Chloe calculates her laundry claim as follows:
2 × 40 weeks × $0.50 per load = $40End of example
Example: No deduction for the laundry costs of conventional clothing
James works in the IT department of a bank. It is a requirement that he complies with dress standards and wears office attire while at work. James buys a number of collared shirts and long pants from a department store.
James can't claim the cost or laundering of these items as they are conventional clothing and private in nature.End of example
You can't claim for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume during your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. These are private expenses.
You can claim:
- overtime meal expenses, but only if you buy and eat the meal while you are performing overtime and you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial award
- cost of meals you incur when you are travelling overnight for the purpose of carrying out your employment duties (travel expenses).
The cost of newspapers, other news services and magazines are generally private expenses and not deductible.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying or subscribing to a professional publication, newspaper, news service or magazine if you can show:
- a direct connection between your specific work duties and the content
- the content is specific to your employment and is not general in nature.
If you use the publication for work and private purposes, you can only claim the portion related to your work-related use.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime, if all of the following apply:
- you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement
- the allowance is on your income statement as a separate allowance
- you include the allowance in your tax return as income.
You can't claim a deduction if the allowance is part of your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your income statement.
You generally need to get and keep written evidence, such as receipts, when you claim a deduction. However, each year we set an amount you can claim for overtime meal expenses without receipts. We call this the 'reasonable amount'. If you receive an overtime meal allowance, are claiming a deduction and spent:
- up to reasonable amount, you don’t have to get and keep receipts
- more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for your expenses.
In all cases, you need to be able to show you spent the money and how you worked out your claim.
Example: deduction for overtime meal
Carl is a software developer. 30 times during the year Carl works overtime on the weekend to complete priority work. He receives an overtime meal break and overtime meal allowance of $20 under the award each time this occurs.
Carl generally buys and eats a meal costing $15 during overtime. Carl's income statement shows the overtime meal allowances as a separate allowance totalling $600. That is, 30 overtime shifts × $20.
In his tax return, Carl includes the allowance as income and claims a deduction. He works out his deduction as:
$15 × 30 overtime shifts = $450
That is the actual amount he spent on overtime meals multiplied by the number of overtime shifts.
As the amount Carl spent on his meals is less than the reasonable amount, Carl doesn't have to keep receipts. However, if asked, Carl will have to show that he spent the $450 on overtime meals and how he worked out his claim.End of example
For more information, see TD 2022/10 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2022-23 income year?
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. These are a private expense.
You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips.
Example: parking fees
Spencer drives his own car to work each day and parks his own car in the secure parking centre pay car park next to the IT company where he works.
Once a month Spencer drives his car to a training facility to complete mandatory training, required for his role as a cyber security officer. He pays for parking and his employer does not reimburse him.
Spencer can't claim the cost of parking near his regular place of work. However, Spencer can claim his parking at the training facility as he incurs the cost on a work-related trip.End of example
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.
If all or part of your work-related phone, data and internet expenses are incurred as a result of working from home and you use the revised fixed rate method to claim your working from home deductions, you can't claim a separate deduction for these expenses.
For more information, see:
Example: calculating phone expenses
Mario uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.
He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month including details of the phone calls he has made.
At least once a year, Mario prints out his account and highlights the work-related phone calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is phoning for work such as his manager, colleagues and his clients.
Out of the 300 phone calls he has made in a 4-week period, Mario works out that 120 (40%) of the phone calls are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.
Mario calculates his phone calls for work purposes as follows:
Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls
120 ÷ 300 = 0.40 (that is 40%)
Mario can claim 40% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, calculated as:
$49 × 0.40 = $19.60
As Mario was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), he works out his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:
10.6 months × $19.60 = $207.76End of example
Example: work and private use
Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to work after hours, access her work emails and manage her appointments. Sylvette also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes. Sylvette's internet use diary showed 40% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 60% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:
$1,200 × 0.40 = $480 as work-related internet use.
If there was anyone else that accesses the internet connection, Sylvette must reduce her claim to account for their use.End of example
For more IT professional expenses, see: