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Mining site employee expenses P–S

Last updated 13 June 2023

Details on claiming common mining site employee expenses.

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.

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 revised 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 for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

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

At least once a year, Sebastian prints out his account and highlights the work-related phone calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is calling for work – for example, his manager and site safety officers.

Out of the 300 phone calls he has made in a 4-week period, Sebastian works out that 30 (10%) of the individual phone call expenses billed to him are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

Sebastian calculates his phone calls for work purposes as follows:

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

30 ÷ 300 = 0.10 (that is 10%)

Sebastian can claim 10% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, that is:

$49 × 0.10 = $4.90

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 × $4.90 = $51.94

End of example

 

Example: work and private use

Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails. Sylvette also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes.

Sylvette's internet use diary showed 40% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 60% was for private use. 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, Sylvette must reduce her claim to account for their use

End of example

Protective items

You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items, if you wear them:

  • to protect you from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment
  • while performing your work duties.

To be considered protective, the equipment must provide a sufficient degree of protection against the risks of illness or injury you are exposed to in carrying out your work duties. Protective items can include safety glasses, helmets and breathing masks. For example, a mining employee can claim a deduction for the cost of hard hats, earplugs or protective gloves.

You can also claim the costs you incur to repair, replace or clean protective items.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer:

  • supplies the protective items
  • reimburses you for the cost you incur to buy protective items.

Example: protective equipment required for employment duties

Barry is an underground miner. He must wear safety glasses, a hard hat and a breathing mask whilst working. These items protect Barry from the real and likely risk of injury or illness that he may be exposed to while working in the mines.

Barry is required to buy these items himself and is not reimbursed by his employer.

Barry can claim a deduction for the cost of the items. He is also able to claim any costs he incurs to repair, replace or clean these protective items.

End of example

 

Example: protective items provided by the employer

Alexa is a machine operator within a mining site. Her employer requires her to wear earmuffs or earplugs at all times to protect her hearing from being injured while working. Her employer supplies her with these items. There is a direct connection between Alexa's employment duties and the need for these protective items.

As Alexa's employer provides the protective equipment, she can't claim a deduction as she has not incurred any cost.

If Alexa had purchased the hearing protective equipment herself and was not reimbursed by her employer, she could claim a deduction.

End of example

Removal and relocation expenses

You can’t claim a deduction for the cost to transfer or relocate to a new work location. This is the case whether the move is a condition of your existing job or you are taking up a new job.

Repairs to tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes, you can only claim an amount for your work-related use.

Example: deduction for repair cost to equipment

Piper is a general mining employee who regularly uses a range of tools and equipment in her job. Her jack hammer has stopped working and she had to pay $200 to get this repaired. Piper only uses this jackhammer for work-related purposes. She was not reimbursed by her employer.

Piper can claim a deduction for the costs she incurs to repair her jack hammer.

End of example

Self-education expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if it directly relates to your employment as a mining site employee and at the time you incur the expense, it:

  • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
  • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment.

You can't claim a deduction for a self-education expense if at the time you incur the expense, it:

  • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
  • only relates in a general way to your current employment
  • enables you to get employment or change employment.

If your self-education expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course or tuition fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

If you do your study at your home, you may also be able to claim work from home running expenses, but not occupancy expenses.

You can't claim a deduction for the repayments you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

  • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) (FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP)
  • VET Student Loans (VETSL)
  • Trade Support Loan Program (TSL)
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
  • Student Start-up Loan (SSL).

While course or tuition fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

Example: deductible self-education expenses

Doug is studying mining engineering while doing clerical work for a mining company. He is offered a mining engineer cadetship, with a condition that he will continue his studies.

Doug can't claim his study expenses while employed as a clerk. However, once he begins his mining engineer cadetship, he can claim his study expenses. This is because his mining engineer cadetship will:

  • maintain or improve his skills and knowledge needed for his current duties
  • results in or is likely to result in an increase in Doug's income from his current employment.
End of example

Seminars, conferences and training courses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a mining site employee.

The costs you can claim includes fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course, for example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion.

Example: When you can claim a deduction for a training course

Alphonse is a diesel mechanic. He is required by his employer to pay for workplace health and safety training as an ongoing condition of his employment.

Alphonse can claim a deduction for the cost of the training as it directly relates to his current employment.

End of example

 

Example: When you can’t claim a deduction for a training course

Alphonse is also paying for and undertaking a course in leadership in the hope it results in future promotion opportunities.

As the course doesn't directly relate to his current role as a diesel mechanic, Alphonse can't claim a deduction for the expense.

End of example

Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens

You can claim a deduction for the work-related use of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if you:

  • must work outdoors in the sun for prolonged periods
  • use these items to protect you from the real and likely risk of illness or injury while at work.

This includes prescription sunglasses and anti-glare glasses.

You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the products if you also wear them for private purposes.

Example: claiming sunglasses

Harold drives a truck on a mine site. He wears sunglasses for protection against the glare of the sun while driving the truck. He also needs to wear glasses while driving, for his short-sightedness.

He buys a pair of prescription sunglasses which counter the glare during day driving. Harold does not use the prescription glasses when he is not working. He also buys a pair of untinted prescription glasses for night driving.

Harold can claim a deduction for the prescription sunglasses as he uses these to protect himself from the glare of the sun while he is carrying out his employment duties. Harold can't claim a deduction for the untinted prescription glasses. These are a private expense.

End of example

For more mining site employee expenses, see:

QC19678