Details on claiming common IT professional expenses.
You can claim a deduction for transport costs if you travel in the course of performing your work. For example, taking a taxi from your regular workplace to another work location.
You can’t claim a deduction for travel expenses between home and work, these are private expenses.
You can't claim a deduction if your employer reimburses you for these expenses.
You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment you use to perform your duties as an IT professional. For example, computer equipment and software. Software incudes physical CDs, apps that you pay to download, and annual subscriptions to software services.
You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.
If the tool or equipment cost you $300 or less, you can claim a deduction for the full amount in the year you buy it, if:
- you use it mainly for work purposes
- it's not part of a set that together cost more than $300.
You can claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (that is, decline in value), if the tool or equipment:
- cost more than $300
- is part of a set that together cost more than $300.
If software is included as part of your purchase price for the computer system, you do not need to break up the costs to calculate the decline in value.
If you bought the tool or item of equipment part way through the year, you can only claim a deduction for the decline in value for the period of the income year that you own it. To work out your deduction use the Depreciation and capital allowances tool.
You can also claim a deduction for the cost of repairs to tools and equipment that you use for work purposes.
You can’t claim a deduction for tools and equipment that your employer or a third party supplies for use.
Example: decline in value deduction
Mateo works from home two days a week. He buys a computer which comes with the operating system already installed for $2,000. He pays $99 for an annual subscription for antivirus software that he needs for his work.
Mateo can claim a deduction for the decline in value of the computer and operating system. He can also claim a deduction for the full cost of the anti-virus software ($99) in the year he bought it.
If Matteo also uses the computer or software for personal use, he will need to apportion the expense and claim a deduction only for the percentage of his work use.End of example
Example: when you can claim a deduction for tools
Robert is a computer technician. His employer supplies him with basic tools to complete his work. Robert purchases a multifunction screwdriver for $50 to assist him to complete tasks and keeps his receipt. Robert leaves all his tools including the screwdriver at his workplace and doesn't take them home.
Robert can claim a deduction of $50 for the purchase of the tool as he:
- incurs the expense
- it directly relates to his income-producing activities
- has a record to prove it.
Example: when you can’t claim a deduction for tools
Jennifer is a computer technician. Her employer provides all the tools required to complete her work. If Jennifer requires any additional tool to aid her, it is policy for the company to supply it or provide a full reimbursement for the cost of the item.
Jennifer's employer reimburses her for purchases such as a screwdriver set to assist her to complete tasks. Jennifer can't claim a deduction for buying the screwdriver set as she is reimbursed for the expense by her employer.End of example
You can claim a deduction for travel expenses you incur when your work requires you to both:
- travel for work
- sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties.
Expenses you can claim include your accommodation, meals and expenses which are incidental to the travel (incidentals). For example, when you travel interstate to attend a work-related conference, seminar or training course.
You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you don’t incur any expenses, because:
- you slept in accommodation your employer provides
- you eat meals your employer provides
- your employer or a third party reimburses you for any costs you incur.
Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn’t automatically mean you can claim a deduction. In all cases, you must be able to show:
- you were away overnight
- you have spent the money
- the travel directly relates to earning your employment income
- how you worked out your claim.
If you receive a travel allowance you must include it as assessable income in your tax return unless all of the following apply:
- the travel allowance is not shown on your income statement or payment summary
- the travel allowance doesn't exceed the Commissioner's reasonable amount
- you spent the whole allowance on deductible accommodation, meal and incidental expenses, if applicable.
The Commissioner's reasonable amount is set each year. The amount is used to determine whether an exception from keeping written evidence applies for the following expenses which are covered by a travel allowance:
You don’t have to keep written evidence such as receipts if both of the following apply:
- you received a travel allowance from your employer for the expenses
- your deduction is less than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.
If you claim a deduction for more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount you need to keep receipts for all expenses, not just for the amount over the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.
Even if you are not required to keep written evidence such as receipts, you must be able to explain your claim and show you spent the amounts. For example, show your work diary, that you received and correctly declared your travel allowance and bank statements.
Example: when you can claim a deduction for meals with no allowance
Peter is the lead designer of a new IT system for a large company based in Melbourne. Peter works in their Perth office and there is a requirement for him to attend monthly meetings to provide updates. Due to the distance between the two offices, Peter stays overnight in Melbourne before returning to Perth.
His employer pays for his flights and accommodation. Peter purchases his own meals in Melbourne and his employer doesn't pay him a meal allowance or reimburse him for the expense.
Peter can claim a deduction for his meal expenses he incurred during his work trip. He must also keep all of his receipts for his meal expenses because he did not receive a travel allowance from his employer.
He can't claim a deduction for the airfares and accommodation as he didn’t incur the expense.End of example
Example: when you can’t claim a deduction for travel expenses
Christine is a technical support officer in an IT company based in Adelaide. Christine decides to attend a two-day education program on the topic of Executive Leadership in the workforce. The program is in Sydney. It is not a requirement for Christine in her role to have specific leadership skills to perform her role nor is she an executive.
Christine’s employer allows her to take annual leave to attend the program and doesn’t pay for or reimburse any of the expenses to attend.
Christine can't claim a deduction for any of her expenses as it does not have a sufficient connection to her current role.End of example
Example: reasonable allowance amount
Antoni travels from Adelaide to Mt Gambier for a job, he is away from home for 5 nights. His employer pays him a travel allowance of $110 per night for accommodation, meals and incidental expenses. The allowance isn't shown on his income statement.
The travel allowance amount paid to Antoni is less than the reasonable allowance amount. Antoni spends all of the travel allowance on his travel expenses.
Antoni does not to include his allowance on his tax return because:
- it's not shown on his income statement
- it's less than the reasonable allowance amount
- he spends it all to cover his travel expenses.
This means Antoni can't claim a deduction for his travel expenses on his tax return.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 claim a deduction for union and professional association fees you pay. You can use your income statement as evidence of the amount you pay if it's shown on there.
You may be able to claim a deduction for working from home expenses you incur as an employee. These can be additional running expenses such as electricity, the decline in value of equipment or furniture, phone and internet expenses. You must:
- use one of the methods set out by us to calculate your deduction
- keep the records required for the method you choose to use.
There are some expenses you can't claim a deduction for as an employee. Employees who work at home can't claim costs:
- for coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may provide you at work
- for your children and their education including
- setting them up for online learning
- teaching them at home
- buying equipment such as iPads and desks
- your employer pays for or reimburses you for the expense
- for the decline in value of items provided by your employer – for example, a laptop or a phone.
Generally, as an employee, you can’t claim occupancy expenses (rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums), unless your home is your 'place of business'.
You can’t claim a deduction if your employer paid for your home office to be set up or they reimbursed you for the expense.
You also can't claim a deduction for your working from home expenses if you are only carrying out minimal tasks, such as checking your shift times.
The Home office expenses calculator helps you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction for home office expenses.
For more information, see:
- PS LA 2001/6 Verification approaches for home office and electronic device expenses
- TR 93/30 Income tax: deductions for home office expenses
- PCG 2023/1 Claiming a deduction for additional running expenses incurred while working from home
For more IT professional expenses, see: