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Paramedic expenses A–F

Details on claiming paramedic expenses.

Last updated 2 June 2024

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 secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

You are considered to have shifting places of employment 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:

  • between separate jobs on the same day – for example, from your job as a paramedic to your second job as a first aid trainer
  • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from your ambulance station to a meeting in head office
  • from home directly to an alternative workplace – for example, travelling from home to work at a station other than your normal station for the day.

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 must 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: home to work not deductible

Ursula works as an intensive care paramedic. She isn't based at a particular station. When someone is unavailable for work, Ursula is called into work at that ambulance station. She doesn't travel to any other ambulance stations during the day.

While she may not know where she is going to work each day, she will only ever work at one location for the day.

Ursula can't claim a deduction for cost of her travel between her home and the station she drives to each time she is called in for duty. The expenses are private.

End of example

Child care

You can't claim a deduction for 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, jeans and a t-shirt, or business attire.

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 that you wear to protect you from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, hi-vis jackets, aprons or gowns and non-slip shoes. 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, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, closed shoes.
  • occupation-specific – clothing is clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person associated 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 and you wear the uniform at work.

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

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.

You can claim a deduction for additional costs you incur to get a special licence or condition on your licence to perform your work duties – for example, a heavy vehicle permit.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for the cost to obtain a special license or condition.

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 do not have a direct connection to your income-producing activities.

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

Example: entertainment costs not deductible

Evan attends a social breakfast organised by the Ambulance Union. These breakfasts are held every other month to encourage paramedics within the region to meet socially with colleagues.

Evan can't claim a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast.

End of example

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 fines and speeding fines, or penalties.

Fitness expenses

You generally can’t claim gym and fitness expenses (such as skipping ropes, weights and other fitness equipment) even if you need to pass medical examinations and fitness tests to maintain your employment for your role. These are private expenses except in very limited circumstances.

You can claim a deduction in very limited circumstances, where your role requires you have an extremely high level of fitness. This will be the case where your role requires you to both:

  • maintain an extremely high level of fitness well above the general occupation standard
  • perform ongoing strenuous physical activities as an essential and regular part of your role.

You can’t in any circumstances claim a deduction for expenses you incur to buy conventional clothing you use in the course of keeping fit. This includes tracksuits, running or aerobic shoes, socks, sporting shirts or shorts.

Example: maintaining high level fitness

Joffrey is a special operations paramedic. He is trained in a range of skills including abseiling, water rescue, breathing apparatus operations, structural collapse and navigation. In his role he provides intensive care to patients in hostile environments, including caves, canyons, bushfires and floods. Joffrey regularly attends a commercial gym to ensure that he can perform his specific duties.

Joffrey's fitness expenses for the year include gym fees and the cost of a tracksuit. As Joffrey's ordinary duties require regular strenuous physical activity, he can deduct his gym fees, but not the cost of the tracksuit. The tracksuit is conventional clothing, so the expense is private.

If Joffrey was a general duties paramedic, he would not be able to claim a deduction for his gym fees. Although he is required to maintain a standard level of fitness, his role would not involve strenuous, ongoing physical activity. In these circumstances Joffrey's expenses would be private.

End of example

For more paramedic expenses, see: