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Media professional expenses G–N

Last updated 11 June 2023

Details on claiming media professional expenses.

Glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses

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 anti-glare glasses or prescription sunglasses if you wear them to reduce the risk of illness or injury while working as a media professional.

You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.

Example: no deduction for contact lenses

Jo is a presenter on television show. Jo is required to read her lines from a teleprompter. Jo can't read the teleprompter from where she sits to present the show if she doesn't wear her contact lenses.

Jo can't claim a deduction for the cost of the contact lenses she wears when she is working. The expense is private.

End of example

Grooming expenses

You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even though:

  • you may receive an allowance for grooming
  • your employer expects you to be well groomed when at work.

All grooming expenses and products are private expenses.

Hiring equipment

You can claim the cost of hiring equipment that you use for carrying out your employment duties. However, if you also use the equipment you have hired for private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for your work-related use.

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, 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 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: clothing maintained by the employer

Julie is a news panel presenter on commercial television. She is supplied clothing to wear by her employer's wardrobe department. Julie wears a casual outfit on her way to and from the studio.

The outfit she wears while presenting is returned to the wardrobe department and they organise for it to be dry cleaned for use at another time.

As Julie incurs no cost for washing or dry cleaning her work attire, she can't claim a deduction for laundry or dry-cleaning expenses.

Julie also can't claim a deduction to clean the clothing she wears to and from work as they are items of conventional clothing.

End of example

Meal and snack expenses

You can't claim a deduction 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)

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.

Example: deduction for newspapers

Fiona is a senior news journalist for a large metropolitan newspaper in Sydney. Fiona has all the major Sydney newspapers delivered to her home each morning. Before leaving for work she scans each paper, noting the content of the major stories and, additionally, what interpretation is being placed on each story by her colleagues and competitors.

Fiona can claim a deduction for the cost of the newspapers as the research is directly related to her work and any private use is incidental to her research.

End of example

 

Example: publications for work and private purposes

Judy is a journalist specialising in gardening who writes a weekly newspaper column. Judy always buys the Saturday edition of a major broadsheet as it features a lift out dedicated to the maintenance of Australian gardens. She also subscribes to a specialist gardening magazine. Occasionally she buys other daily newspapers in order to keep up to date with trends in journalism.

Judy can claim a deduction for the cost of the Saturday edition of the newspaper and the magazine subscription as it is directly related to Judy's specialist field.

Judy can't claim a deduction for the cost of the other daily newspapers as they lack a sufficient connection to Judy's specialist field.

End of example

For more media professionals' expenses, see:

QC51250