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Meat worker expenses L–O

Details on claiming meat worker expenses.

Last updated 2 June 2024

Laundry and maintenance

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, an apron)
  • occupation specific and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing such as jeans or general business attire
  • a uniform either non-compulsory and registered by your employer on the Register of Approved occupational Clothing 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 incur 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: laundering of protective clothing by employer

As part of his job as a meat process worker, Jack handles and packages meat that has been cut on the processing line. Jack’s employer provides staff with gloves and aprons to perform their duties.

Jack's employer washes the protective clothing to ensure that no cross contamination occurs.

Jack can't claim a deduction for laundering the gloves and apron because he doesn't incur an expense for laundering these items.

End of example


Example: laundering conventional clothing

Beverley works as a meat processing worker cutting meat before they are sent to the packing line. She buys and wears special socks that are made of a thick, soft material that she says helps her stay on her feet all day.

Beverley washes her socks with other non-work-related clothing 5 times per week.

Beverley can't claim a deduction for the cost of laundering her socks as they are:

  • not protective
  • not part of a compulsory uniform
  • considered conventional clothing and private in nature.
End of example


Example: laundry expenses

Madison receives 3 company shirts with logos embroidered on them from her employer. She washes and dries her company shirts in a separate load of washing twice a week.

Madison works 48 weeks during the year. Her claim of $96 for laundry expenses is worked out as follows:

Number of claimable laundry loads per week × number of weeks worked = total number of claimable laundry loads

2 × 48 = 96

Total number of claimable laundry loads × reasonable cost per load = total claim amount

96 × $1 = $96

As her total claim for laundry expenses is under $150, Madison doesn't have to provide written evidence of her laundry expenses. Although Madison doesn't require evidence to prove her claim for laundry, if asked, she will still be required to explain how she worked out her claim.

End of example

Licences, permits and certificates

You can't claim the cost to get your initial licence, regulator permit, cards or certificates to get a job. For example, a forklift licence.

You can claim a deduction for the additional costs you incur to get or renew your licence, regulatory permit, card or certificate to continue to perform your work duties. For example, if you need to have a forklift licence to get your job, you can’t claim the initial cost of obtaining it. However, you can claim the cost of renewing it during the period you are working.

Meal and snack expenses

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
  • the cost of meals you incur when you are travelling overnight for the purpose of carrying out your employment duties (travel expenses).

Example: meal expenses not deductible

Sylvie works as a meatpacker. The factory she works at runs 24 hours a day and Sylvie does the early morning shift which starts at 4:30 am and finishes at 1:30 pm.

During her meal break, Sylvie buys breakfast and a coffee.

Sylvie can't claim a deduction for the cost of her breakfast and coffee which she buys while working her normal early morning shift. The expenses are private expenses.

End of example

Music streaming services, CDs, audio books or podcasts

You can't claim a deduction for music streaming services, CDs, audio books, podcasts or devices, even if you listen to music at work. These expenses aren't essential to earning your income, they are private expenses.

Newspapers and other news services, magazines and professional publications

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.

Overtime meal expenses

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 enterprise agreement
  • the allowance is on your income statement or payment summary 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 or payment summary.

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 the reasonable amount, you don't have to get and keep receipts
  • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for all your expenses.

In all cases, you need to be able to show:

  • you spent the money
  • how you work out your claim.

Example: overtime meal expenses

Logan completes his 8 hour shift and is asked to work an additional three hours. He is given a meal break and paid a meal allowance of $18 under his enterprise bargaining agreement.

Logan buys and eats a meal costing him $20 during his overtime.

Logan's income statement shows the overtime meal allowance of $18 as a separate allowance. In his tax return, Logan includes the allowance as income and claims a deduction of $20.

He can claim a deduction for $20 as he incurs the expense on a meal he eats while working overtime.

As the amount Logan spent on his meal is less than the reasonable amount, Logan doesn't have to keep receipts. However, if asked, Logan will have to show that he spent the $20 on overtime meals and how he worked out his claim.

End of example

For more information, see TD 2023/3 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2023-24 income year?

For more meat workers' expenses, see: