Income and allowance amounts you need to include in your tax return and amounts you don’t include.
You must include all the income you receive during the income year as a media professional in your tax return, this includes:
- salary and wages, including cash or bonus payments
- compensation and insurance payments – for example, payments made under an income protection insurance policy to replace salary and wages.
Don't include as income any reimbursements you receive.
Your income statement or payment summary will show all your salary, wages and allowances for the income year.
You must include all allowances your employer reports on your income statement or payment summary as income in your tax return.
An allowance is where your employer pays you an amount as an estimate of costs you might incur:
- to help you pay for a work expense – for example, bags or equipment
- as compensation for an aspect of your work such as working conditions or industry peculiarities – for example undertaking sub-editing
- as an amount for having special duties, skills or qualifications – for example, first aid qualifications.
Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement. Find out about declaring income and claiming deductions for Allowances not on your income statement.
If you receive an allowance from your employer, it does not automatically mean you can claim a deduction.
Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement, you will find these amounts on your payslip. You don't need to declare these allowances as income in your tax return, unless you're claiming a deduction. Examples include travel allowances and overtime meal allowances.
If you spend the allowance amount on work expenses, you:
- don't include it as income in your tax return
- can't claim any deductions for the work expenses the allowance covers.
If you're not claiming a deduction, you don't need to keep any records of the amounts you spend.
If you spend your allowance on a deductible work-related expense, to claim a deduction you:
- include the allowance as income in your tax return
- include a claim for the work expenses you incur in your tax return
- must have records of your expenses.
If you can claim a deduction, the amount of the deduction is not usually the same amount as the allowance you receive.
Allowances and claiming a deduction
The following table sets out allowances you may receive and when you can claim a deduction.
Reason for allowance
Example of allowance type
Deduction (Yes or No)
Compensation for an aspect of your work that is unpleasant, special or dangerous or for industry peculiarities
Health and safety representative allowance
These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses
An amount for certain expenses
Meal allowance when you travel for work
If you incur deductible expenses
An amount for special skills
A first aid certificate
If you incur deductible expenses
Example: allowance is assessable income, no deduction allowable
Leonie is employed by a television network to read the news. Leonie’s employer requires her to dress professionally when she is on air. Clothing isn't provided by Leonie‘s employer but they pay her a clothing allowance of $1,200 each income year which is shown on her income statement at the end of each income year.
During the income year, Leonie spends $1,840 on clothes to wear while presenting the news.
Leonie must include the clothing allowance of $1,200 as income in her tax return.
Leonie can’t claim a deduction for the clothing she buys. Although she is required to dress professionally on air, the clothing she buys is conventional everyday clothing. The expense is private in nature.End of example
Example: allowance is assessable income, deduction allowable
Ron is a journalist for a syndicated newspaper. During the income year, Ron uses his own car to travel:
- from his office to various locations to interview sources
- from his office to the library to conduct research
- to attend training or meetings at other offices.
Ron's employer pays him 50c per kilometre when he uses his car for work purposes. At the end of the year, his income statement shows he was paid an allowance of $1600 for using his car for work (3200 kms × $0.50).
Ron must include the car allowance as income in his tax return.
Ron can claim a deduction for the cost of using his car for work purposes. He can't claim the amount of the allowance he receives. Ron must calculate the amount of the deduction using the records he keeps whenever he uses his own car for work purposes.
In the past year Ron has kept a record of the work trips he did using his own car, but he doesn't keep a logbook. His records show he travelled 3200 kms for work purposes.
As Ron has not kept a logbook, he uses the cents per kilometre method to claim a deduction. The cents per kilometre method rate for the income year 2022–23 is 78c per kilometre.
Ron claims a deduction of $2,496. Ron calculates his deduction as 3200 kms × $0.78 = $2,496.End of example
If your employer pays you the exact amount for expenses you incur (either before or after you incur them), the payment is a reimbursement.
A reimbursement isn't considered to be an allowance.
If your employer reimburses you for expenses you incur:
- you don't include the reimbursement as income in your tax return
- you can't claim a deduction for the expenses.
Find out about media professionals: