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Performing artist expenses G–O

Last updated 18 June 2023

Details on claiming performing artist expenses.

Gifts

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of gifts such as flowers or alcohol for fellow performers, producers or directors. These are private 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 tinted contact lenses to alter eye colour or special spectacle frames if it's required for a role.

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 an employee performing artist. 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 claim a deduction for the cost of:

  • a particular hairstyle if it's required for a role
  • hairdressing specifically to maintain a required hair length or style as part of a costume for continuity purposes
  • stage makeup, including the cost of cleansing materials for removing stage makeup.

You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products not relating to your role or costume, 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 not relating to your role or costume are private expenses.

Example: grooming costs for a role

Benji is an actor and is shooting a movie. He is required to grow his hair and dye it dark brown for the movie. Benji is particular about his hairdresser and won't use the hairdresser provided by his employer. He pays for his personal hairdresser to cut and dye his hair according to the movie specifications. Benji's employer does not reimburse him.

He can claim the costs of his hairdresser as the hairdressing is particular to his role.

End of example

 

Example: non-essential grooming costs

Kate is a singer who performs on weekends at local restaurants. Kate likes to look professional and pays a professional makeup artist before each performance. She also gets a spray tan each fortnight.

Kate can't claim a deduction for these expenses, they are private expenses that are not essential to her employment duties.

End of example

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
  • deductible conventional clothing, such as a costume for a particular role
  • 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.

Meal and snack expenses

You can't claim a deduction 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 a deduction for the cost of meals you incur when you are travelling overnight for the purpose of carrying out your employment duties (travel expenses).

Example: meal while working

Valerie is a dancer at a casino. Valerie is required to work six days a week from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. On a normal day, Valerie:

  • attends rehearsal with the other dancers until 5:00 pm
  • meets with the director and music director to discuss any issues until 5:30 pm
  • has a meal break for 45 minutes when she buys and eats a light meal
  • gets her hair and makeup done
  • performs from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm warms down
  • changes out of her costume and gets her makeup removed.

The meal that Valerie buys and eats on her meal break is not deductible. It is a private expense.

End of example

Multimedia

You can claim a deduction for the work-related part of the cost of multimedia, if it directly relates to your current employment as an employee performing artist. For example, you can claim a deduction for downloading music files used for rehearsals.

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 overtime meal expenses without receipts. This is called the 'reasonable amount'. If you receive an overtime meal allowance, are claiming a deduction and spent:

  • up to the reasonable amount, you don't have to get and keep receipts
  • more than the reasonable amount, you must get and keep receipts for all your expenses.

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

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 performing artists expenses, see:

QC51260