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Performing artist expenses P–S

Details on claiming performing artist expenses.

Last updated 2 June 2024

Parking fees and tolls

You can't claim a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of work. You also can't claim a deduction for tolls you incur for trips between your home and regular place of work. This is a private expense.

You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips.

Pay television and streaming services

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of pay television or streaming services such as Foxtel or Netflix. This is a private expense.

Phone, data and internet expenses

You can claim a deduction for phone, data and internet costs for the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.

If your phone, data and internet use for work is incidental and you're not claiming more than $50 in total, you do not need to keep records.

If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill where you can identify your work-related phone calls and data use.

You can’t claim a deduction if your employer:

  • provides you with a phone for work and pays for your usage
  • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

You can't claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while travelling for work. This is because these are personal phone calls.

The cost of obtaining or maintaining a silent phone number is also a private expense and can't be claimed as a deduction.

If all or part of your work-related phone, data and internet expenses are incurred as a result of working from home and you use the fixed rate method to claim your working from home deductions, you can't claim a separate deduction for these expenses.

For more information, see:

Example: calculating phone expenses

Damon is a director and he uses his personal mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set mobile plan of $49 a month and never exceeds the plan cap.

He receives an itemised bill from his phone provider each month which includes details of his individual phone calls.

At least once a year, Damon prints out his monthly bill and highlights his work-related phone calls. He also makes notes on the itemised bill about who he has called – for example, actors and agents.

Out of the 360 phone calls he has made in a 4 week period, Damon works out that 144 (40%) of the phone calls are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

He works out his phone calls for work purposes as follows:

Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls

144 ÷ 360 = 0.40 (that is 40%)

Damon can claim 40% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes:

$49 × 0.40 = $19.60

Since Damon was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

10.6 months × $19.60 = $207.76

End of example


Example: work and private use

Gabriela is an actress and uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and complete research for her roles. Gabriela uses her computer and internet for both work and private purposes.

Gabriela keeps a diary for a 4-week period, recording the times she used the internet for work and private purposes.

Gabriela's internet use diary showed 30% of her internet usage was for work-related activities and 70% was for private use.

As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200, she can claim:

$1,200 × 0.30 = $360 as work-related internet use

End of example


You can claim a deduction for the cost of maintaining a photographic portfolio for publicity purposes. You can't claim a deduction for the initial cost of preparing the portfolio.

Repairs to tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes, you can only claim an amount for your work-related use.

Research expenses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of researching a role or character that you have been employed to play. For example, the cost of reference material containing information on a character, era or event.

This includes the ‘time usage cost’ of researching on the internet, including the work-related portion of the service provider’s recurrent costs or costs associated with accessing secure internet sites.

You'll need to show that you're required to access the internet as part of your work.

Example: deductible research expenses

Barry is cast to play the role of a former Prime Minister in an historical television drama. He buys several biographies of the Prime Minister and streams a documentary series on the Prime Minister's years in Government.

Barry can claim a deduction for the cost of the biographies and the direct costs of streaming the documentary.

End of example

Self-education expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if they directly relate to your employment as an employee performing artist and at the time the expense is incurred it:

  • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
  • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment.

You can't claim a deduction if at the time the self-education expense was incurred the expense either:

  • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
  • only relates in a general way to your current employment
  • enables you to get employment or change employment.

If your self-education expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course or tuition fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

If you study at home, you may also be able to claim work from home running expenses, but not occupancy expenses.

You can't claim a deduction for the repayments you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

  • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) (FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP)
  • VET Student Loans (VSL)
  • Australian Apprenticeship Support Loan (AASL) (formerly Trade Support Loans (TSL))
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
  • Student Start-up Loan (SSL).

While course or tuition fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

Example: study directly relevant to employment

Ahmed is a stage actor in a Shakespearean theatre. To improve his performing skills, he enrols in coaching classes for both fencing and vocal training.

Ahmed can claim a deduction for his study expenses because they are directly related to his current employment as a stage actor and will improve his performing skills.

End of example


Example: study to improve skills for a current job

Carmel is an actor in the state theatre company. Her performance requires several acrobatic tricks. To improve her skills in this area, she enrols into an acrobat course.

Carmel can claim her self-education expenses for the acrobatic course because these lessons will maintain and improve the skills and knowledge she needs to perform her current duties.

End of example

Seminars, conferences and training courses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as an employee performing artist.

The costs you can claim includes fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course you can only claim the work-related portion. For example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week.

Example: dominant purpose work-related

Elena is a dance teacher and attends a 5-day work-related conference in New York on choreography. On the first day of the conference, attendees were taken on a sightseeing tour, however the remaining time was spent on choreography.

As her main purpose is work-related, Elena can deduct all the expenses she incurred for the conference (airfares, accommodation and meals).

End of example

For more performing artists expenses, see: