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Nurses and midwives expenses G–O

Last updated 13 June 2023

Details on claiming common nurse and midwife 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 protective glasses if you wear them to reduce the real and likely risk of illness or injury while working as a nurse or midwife. Protective glasses include anti-glare or photochromatic glasses, sunglasses, safety glasses or goggles.

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

Grooming expenses

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

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

All grooming expenses and products are private expenses.

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 the 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: uniform laundry expenses

Linda's employer provides her with a compulsory uniform to wear at work. She washes, dries and irons her compulsory uniform in a separate load of washing twice a week. Linda works 48 weeks during the year.

She works out her claim of $96 for laundry as follows:

Number of claimable laundry loads per week × number of weeks = total number of claimable laundry loads

2 × 48 = 96

Total number of claimable laundry loads × reasonable cost per load = total claim amount, that is

96 × $1 = $96

As her total claim for laundry expenses is under $150 ($96), Linda doesn't have to provide written evidence of her laundry expenses. Although Linda doesn't require evidence to prove her claim for laundry, if asked, she will still need to explain how she calculates her claim.

End of example


Example: work clothing laundered and maintained by employer

Sebastian is a theatre nurse and is required to wear theatre scrubs while working. The scrubs are supplied by his employer at no cost. Sebastian wears plain clothes to and from work and changes into his scrubs when he arrives at the hospital.

At the end of each shift, he places the dirty scrubs into a washing hamper that is collected and laundered by a professional cleaning company at his employer's cost.

As Sebastian doesn't incur any costs for cleaning the scrubs he wears at work, he can't claim a deduction.

Sebastian also can't claim a deduction for washing the everyday clothes he wears to and from work because these clothes are conventional.

End of example

Meal and snack expenses

You can't claim 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.

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 as a separate allowance
  • you include the allowance in your tax return as income.

You can't claim a deduction if the allowance is not shown as a separate allowance on your income statement.

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 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 need to be able to show you spent the money and how you worked out your claim.

Example: overtime meal

Sandra is a neonatal nurse. She completes her 8-hour shift and is asked to work for an additional 3 hours. She is given a meal break and paid a meal allowance of $19 under her enterprise bargaining agreement. Sandra buys and eats a meal costing $22 during her overtime meal break.

Sandra can claim a deduction for $22 as the expenditure on the meal she eats while on overtime duty as she incurs the expense in earning her employment income. It is not private in nature.

End of example

For more information, see TD 2022/10 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2022–23 income year?

For more nurses and midwifes' expenses, see: