ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Media professional expenses O–P

Details on claiming media professional expenses.

Last updated 2 June 2024

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 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 your expenses.

In all cases, you must be able to show:

  • you spent the money
  • how you calculated your claim.

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?

Parking fees and tolls

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 regular place of work. These are a private expense.

You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips.

Pay TV and streaming services

The cost of pay TV and streaming services is generally a private expense.

You can claim a deduction for the work-related portion of pay TV or streaming service access payments if you can show that you're required to access pay TV or the streaming service as part of your work duties. The amount of the deduction is limited to the content that is specific to earning your income.

Phone, data and internet expenses

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.

You also can't claim a deduction for the cost of having an unlisted phone number.

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 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

Sebastian uses his mobile phone to contact sources, his editor and colleagues. He is on a set plan of $69 a month.

He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month that includes details of his individual phone calls.

At least once a year, Sebastian prints out his account and highlights the work-related calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is phoning for work – for example, his sources, editor and colleagues.

Out of the 300 phone calls he has made in a 4 week period, Sebastian works out that 240 (80%) of the individual phone call expenses billed to him are for work.

Sebastian applies that percentage to his cap amount of $69 a month.

He works out his phone calls for work purposes as follows:

Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls

240 ÷ 300 = 0.80 (that is 80%)

Sebastian can claim 80% of the total bill of $69 for each month for work purposes, that is:

$69 × 0.80 = $55.20

Sebastian worked for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), so he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

10.6 months × $55.20 = $585.12

End of example


Example: work and private use

Bronte uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and complete research for her work. She also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes.

Bronte keeps a diary for a four-week period, recording the times she used the internet for work and private purposes. Bronte's diary shows 40% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 60% was for private purposes. 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, Bronte must reduce her claim to account for their use.

End of example

For more media professionals' expenses, see: