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Nurses and midwives expenses A–F

Last updated 13 June 2023

Details on claiming common nurse and midwife expenses for:

Agency commissions and agency fees

You can claim a deduction for commission payments you made to a nursing agency.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer has paid the commission payment, or for upfront fees, joining fees or search fees paid to a nursing agency.

Annual practising certificate fees

You can claim a deduction for the cost of renewing your annual practising certificate if you need it to work in your employment.

The initial cost of getting your practicing certificate can't be claimed as a deduction because you incur the expense to enable you to start employment, not while earning your income.

Example: ongoing expense

Breanna is a registered nurse. She pays to renew her Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) registration so she can continue working as a registered nurse.

Breanna can claim a deduction for the cost of renewing her AHPRA registration. The expense is incurred in the course of gaining her employment income.

Breanna can't claim the initial cost to get her Australian AHPRA registration so that she can commence working as a registered nurse. This is because the cost is incurred to enable her to start working as a nurse.

End of example

Car expenses

You can't claim a car expenses deduction for normal trips between your home and regular place of work. These are private expenses, even if you:

  • live a long way from your usual or regular workplace
  • have to work outside normal business hours (for example, weekend or early morning shifts).

In limited circumstances, you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work or where you had shifting places of employment.

To be able to claim a deduction for the cost of trips between home and work while carrying bulky tools or equipment, all the following conditions must be met:

  • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties
  • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that  
    • because of the size and weight, they are awkward to transport
    • they can only be transported conveniently using a motor vehicle
  • there is no secure storage for such items at the workplace.

It will not be sufficient if you transport the tools or equipment merely as a matter of choice. For example, if your employer provides reasonably secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

You are considered to have shifting places of work where you have no fixed place of work and you continually travel from one work site to another before returning home.

You can also claim a deduction for the cost of using a car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase agreement) when you drive:

  • directly between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from your first job as a ward nurse to your second job as a personal care worker
  • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling between hospitals or medical facilities for your employer
  • from home directly to an alternative workplace – for example, travelling from home to a patient's home to provide care.

You can't claim car expenses for a car you use under a salary sacrifice or novated lease arrangement. This is because it's usually your employer leasing the car from the financing company and making it available for your use. You can however claim additional work-related expenses you incur that are associated with your work use of the car such as parking and tolls.

To claim a deduction, you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the logbook method or the cents per kilometre method to work out your deduction.

If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to help you work out the percentage of work-related use, along with written evidence of your car expenses.

If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to be able to show how you work out your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

If you claim your work-related car expenses using one of the above methods, you can’t claim any further deductions in the same tax return for the same car. For example, petrol, servicing, and insurance costs.

To claim a deduction in your tax return, include the amount of your claim at Work-related car expenses. The Work-related car expenses calculator can help you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction.

You can’t use the cents per kilometre or logbook methods to work out your claim for a:

  • motorcycle
  • vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more (such as a ute)
  • vehicle that can transport 9 passengers or more (such as a minibus).

For these vehicles, you can claim the actual expenses you incur for your work-related travel. This includes costs such as fuel, oil, insurance and loan interest along with the decline in value of the vehicle. You must keep receipts for all your expenses and records to show your work-related use of the vehicle. Although you aren't required to keep a logbook, it is the easiest way to calculate your work-related use of the vehicle.

To claim a deduction for actual expenses you incur for a vehicle not defined as a car, include the amount at Work-related travel expenses.

Example: from alternative workplace to home

Jake works as an ER nurse for a large hospital. As part of his continuing professional development, he is required to attend a seminar after his hospital shift.

Jake uses his own car to travel directly from the hospital to the training facility. He goes directly home after the seminar.

Jake can claim the cost of travelling from the hospital (his regular workplace) to the seminar at the training facility, and then to his home.

Jake keeps a record of his kilometres using the myDeductions tool in the ATO app and uploads this into his tax return at tax time.

End of example

 

Example: private travel to work

Melissa is a midwife at a local hospital. Melissa has to drive to and from work, each day. The cost of this trip is not deductible as it is private in nature.

Melissa incurs the expense to put her in the position to earn her employment income.

End of example

Child care

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of child care (including school holidays and before and after school care) when you're working. It's a private expense, and the expenses have no direct connection to earning your income.

Clothing and uniform expenses (including footwear)

With a few exceptions, clothing can't be deducted as a work-related expense.

You can't claim conventional clothing (including footwear) as a work-related expense, even if your employer requires you to wear it and you only wear these items of clothing at work.

'Conventional clothing' is everyday clothing worn by people regardless of their occupation. For example, white shirts and black skirts or pants worn by nurses or midwives.

You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's in one of the following categories:

  • protective – clothing with protective features or functions you wear to protect you from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, non-slip shoes or smocks worn to stop you coming into contact with harmful substances. Conventional clothes you wear at work are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work. This includes jeans, trousers and closed shoes.
  • occupation-specific – clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person with a particular profession, trade or occupation. For example, a judge's robes or a chef's chequered pants. Items traditionally worn in a profession are not occupation-specific where the clothing is worn by multiple professions.
  • a compulsory uniform – clothing that your employer strictly and consistently enforces you wear by workplace agreement or policy and distinctly identifies either  
    • you as an employee working for a particular employer
    • the products or services your employer provides
  • a non-compulsory uniform – clothing that your employer registers on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing with AusIndustry.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer buys, repairs or replaces your clothing.

Example: conventional clothes worn with a uniform

Sue is an aged care nurse. She is required to wear a blouse or polo shirt with her employer's logo embroidered on it. The employee guidelines include a requirement to wear black trousers and closed black shoes, but don't stipulate any other qualities of those items.

Sue can claim a deduction for buying the shirts as they are a compulsory uniform (distinctive items with the employer's logo and compulsory for her to wear at work).

Sue can't claim the cost of buying her black pants or shoes. Even though her employer requires her to wear a specific colour, they are not distinctive enough to make them part of her uniform and are still conventional clothes.

End of example

Drivers licence

You can't claim a deduction for the cost to get or renew your drivers licence, even if you must have it as a condition of employment. This is a private expense.

Entertainment and social functions

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of any entertainment, fundraising or social functions. This applies even if they are compulsory, non-compulsory or you discuss work matters at the event. Entertainment and social functions include the cost of:

  • work breakfasts, lunches or dinners
  • attendance at sporting events as a spectator
  • gala or social nights
  • concerts or dances
  • cocktail parties
  • other similar types of functions or events.

These are private expenses because these events don't have a direct connection to your work duties.

You also can’t claim the cost of travelling to and from functions.

Fines and penalties

You can't claim a deduction for any fines or penalties you get when you travel to work or during work. Fines may include parking and speeding fines or penalties. For example, a fine you receive for parking illegally.

First aid courses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you are both:

  • a designated first aid person
  • need to complete a first aid training course to assist in emergency work situations.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for the cost of the course.

For more nurses and midwives' expenses, see:

QC20811