Details on claiming pilot expenses.
You can't claim a deduction for gaming consoles or flight simulator games as they aren't essential to earning your income. These items are private expenses.
You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses, even if you need to wear them while working as 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 pilot. Protective glasses include anti-glare or photochromatic glasses, sunglasses, safety glasses or googles.
You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.
Example: claiming sunglasses
Alicia is a pilot and regularly flies during the day. She wears sunglasses to protect against the glare of the sun while flying the plane.
Alicia can claim a deduction for her sunglasses as they protect her eyes from the glare of the sun while she is completing her employment duties.End of example
You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin 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.
You can claim the cost of rehydrating moisturisers and rehydrating hair conditioners used to combat abnormal drying of skin and hair from working in the pressurised environment of an aircraft.
You can only claim a deduction for the cost of the work-related portion of these products.
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 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
Callum is a pilot. He wears a white shirt and black pants which both have his employer's logo embroidered. Callum washes, dries and irons the uniforms as their own load of washing twice a week. Callum works 48 weeks during the year.
He works out he can claim $96 for laundry expenses by:
Number of claimable laundry loads per week × number of weeks = total number of claimable laundry loads
Calculated as: 2 × 48 weeks = 96
Total number of claimable laundry loads × reasonable cost per load = total claim amount
Calculated as: 96 × $1 = $96
Callum does not have to keep records of his laundry expenses because they are less than $150.End of example
Example: dry cleaning expenses
Callum also wears a professional pilot's jacket which displays his employer's logo. Callum gets his jacket dry cleaned 4 times each year and pays $100 each time.
Callum can claim a deduction of $400 ($100 × 4) for the cost of dry cleaning his jacket as this is part of his compulsory uniform. He must keep records for all of his dry cleaning expenses.End of example
You can't claim the cost to get your initial licence, regularly permit, cards or certificates to get a job.
You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur to get or renew your licence, regulatory permit, card or certificate to continue to perform your work duties. For example, if you need to have a pilot's licence to get your job, you can’t claim the initial cost of obtaining it. However, you can claim the cost of renewing it during the period you are working.
You can claim a deduction for salary guarantee and loss of licence insurance where the payment under the policy will be assessable income. For example, you can claim a deduction where the benefit under the policy is regular payments to replace lost earnings.
You can't claim a deduction for salary guarantee and loss of licence insurance where:
- The potential benefit under the policy is a one-off payment – for example, for a loss of a limb. The payment and the premium would be capital in nature.
- The amount is paid or reimbursed by your employer.
If you receive an allowance from your employer to cover your loss of licence insurance premium, you will need to declare the amount as assessable income and claim a deduction for the amount you pay, if it meets the requirements set out above.
Example: insurance policy and employer pays an allowance
Roy is a pilot. Roy takes out a loss of licence insurance policy at a cost of $1,950 that will provide him with regular payments in the event of a temporary disability. Roy's employer pays him an allowance of $2,005 for his loss of licence insurance and includes it on his income statement.
As any payments Roy would receive under the policy would be assessable income, he can claim a deduction for the cost of the premium ($1,950). The allowance of $2,005 must also be included as income in his tax return.End of example
For more information, see TR IT 2230 Income tax: loss of licence insurance.
You can claim a deduction for luggage that you buy and use for work. This includes:
- travel bags
- overnight bags
- suit packs
- navigation bags
- luggage trolleys.
If the luggage cost you $300 or less, and you use it for work only, you can claim an immediate deduction for the whole cost of the bag in the year you buy it.
If the luggage cost more than $300, you can claim a deduction for its decline in value over the bag's or case's effective life.
If you also use the luggage for private purposes, you can only claim the work-related portion and you need to apportion the expense between work-related and private use.
You can't claim a deduction for the cost of transporting your luggage to and from the airport. This is a private expense.
Example: claiming luggage
Anjelica buys luggage valued at $250. She only uses the luggage when she travels away from home overnight for work purposes.
Since the luggage didn't cost more than $300, Anjelica can claim an immediate deduction of $250 in the year she bought it.End of example
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. This is a private expense.
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: when you can't claim a meal expense
Prashant is a pilot for a commercial airline flying domestic routes. He is based at the Sydney airport. Prashant is rostered on to fly from Sydney to Melbourne and from Melbourne back to Sydney.
Prashant is not required to sleep away overnight from home or required to have a long mandatory rest break (of 7 hours or more) to sleep during his shift. Prashant's employer pays him a meal allowance, shown on his income statement and included in his income.
While working his shift, Prashant buys a meal at Melbourne airport. Prashant can't claim a deduction for the cost of the meal he buys. This is a private expense.End of example
You can claim a deduction for medical examinations that you must take to fulfil your health assessment requirements associated with the renewal of your work-related licences.
For example, you can claim your regular aviation and medical appointments and examinations required by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. This includes the cost of the travel to and from the medical practitioner.
You can't claim a deduction if you undertake a pre-employment medical examination, even if you must have it as a condition of employment.
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.
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 written receipts. We call this 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 your expenses.
In all cases, you need to be able to show you spent the money and how you work 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 pilot expenses, see: