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Paramedic expenses G–O

Last updated 18 June 2023

Details on claiming paramedic 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 paramedic. 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 may receive an allowance for grooming
  • your employer expects you 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 your paramedic uniform and any protective clothing you wear in addition to your paramedic uniform. This 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 your compulsory uniform and/or protective clothing you wear at work
  • 50c per load if you mix personal items of clothing with your compulsory uniform and/or protective work clothing.

You can claim the actual costs you incur 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.

Massage expenses

You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of massage or other alternative therapies. These are private expenses.

Meal and snack expenses

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drinks or snacks you consume during your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. This includes meals you buy with an allowance you receive:

  • to compensate you for the cost of buying a meal on a regular working day away from your usual place of work
  • because you were required to work for 5 consecutive hours without receiving a meal break
  • when you are called back to duty before having eaten a meal during a meal break – for example, a spoilt or broken 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).

Example: no deduction for meal

Arisva is a paramedic. She commences work at 10:00 pm and works through until 6:00 am the following morning. During her shift she has a meal break and buys a meal.

The cost of Arisva's meal is not deductible. It is a private expense.

End of example


Example: allowance received but no deduction for meal

Kieran is a retrieval paramedic. He commences work at 2:00 pm and due to being called out, he does not get a meal break until 8:00 pm the same evening.

As he has worked for more than 5 consecutive hours without a meal break, Kieran receives an allowance of $4.24. This allowance is shown on his income statement at the end of the income year.

During his meal break, Kieran buys a meal for $12.80.

Kieran is required to declare the allowance in his income but he can't claim a deduction for the cost of his meal. The meal he buys is consumed during Kieran's ordinary working hours and is private. The receipt of an allowance doesn't change this.

End of example

Medical expenses

You can't claim a deduction for medical expenses. These are private 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 part of your salary and wages and not included 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 work out your claim.

Example: meal allowance not an overtime meal allowance

Aileen is a paramedic. During the year Aileen returns to work 10 times to attend emergency situations before eating her meal during her meal break. Each time she receives an allowance of $16 to compensate her for returning to duty before eating.

Although she receives the allowance under an award, it isn't to enable Aileen to buy a meal during overtime.

If Aileen replaces her spoilt meals while at work, she can't claim a deduction. These meals are during ordinary working hours so are a private expense.

End of example


Example: deduction for overtime meal

On 20 occasions during the year Randy is asked to work overtime after completing his normal shift. He is given a meal break and paid a meal allowance of $20 under the award for each occasion he works overtime. Randy generally buys and eats a meal costing $15 during his overtime which is less than the reasonable amount for the relevant income year.

At the end of the income year, Randy's income statement shows that he received an overtime meal allowance of $400 (20 × $20 = $400).

In his tax return, Randy shows the allowance of $400 as income and claims a deduction of $15 × 20 = $300. That is, the amount he spent on his overtime meals.

As the amount Randy spent on his meals is less than the reasonable amount, Randy doesn't have to keep receipts. However, if asked, Randy will have to be able to show that he spent the $300 on overtime meals and how he calculates his claim.

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 paramedic expenses, see: