ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Pilot expenses P–S

Last updated 18 June 2023

Details on claiming pilot expenses.

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 work. This is a private expense.

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

Example: no deduction for parking fees

Frank is a pilot and likes to park in the carpark next to the airport for convenience. He pays $20 each day to park in this location.

Frank can't claim a deduction for parking fees.

End of example

Passports

You can't claim a deduction for the cost to get or renew your passport, even if you must have it as a condition of employment. This is a private expense.

Protective items and equipment

You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items, equipment and products – for example, personal protective equipment such as face masks, gloves or sanitiser. You must use these items:

  • to protect you from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment or while performing your work duties – for example, working in close proximity to customers
  • in direct connection to earning your employment income.

You can also claim the costs you incur to repair, replace or clean protective items.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer:

  • supplies the protective items
  • pays for the protective items
  • reimburses you for the costs you incur to buy protective items.

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. For example, when you are on-call and are required to be contactable or call the airport regularly.

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 phone calls
  • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

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

You can't claim mobile phone holders for the aircraft.

For more information, see:

Example: calculating the apportionment of phone expenses

Lily uses her mobile phone for work purposes. She is on a set mobile phone plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

Lily receives an itemised account from her phone provider each month by email that includes details of the individual phone calls she has made.

At least once a year, and sometimes 2 or 3 times, Lily prints out her account and highlights the work-related phone calls she has made. She makes notes on her account for the first month about who she is phoning for work and privately – her employer, parents and so on.

Out of the 200 phone calls she makes in a 4-week period, she works out that 30 phone calls (15%) are for work and applies that percentage to her cap amount of $49 a month.

She works out her phone calls for work purposes as follows:

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

30 ÷ 200 = 0.15 (that is 15%)

Lily can claim 15% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes, which is:

$49 × 0.15 = $7.35

Since Lily was only at work for 38 weeks of the year (8.8 months), she calculates her work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

8.8 months × $7.35 = $64.68

End of example

 

Example: phone sim card purchased overseas

Liam is an international pilot. He is required to contact and be contactable by his employer when working overseas, so that they can advise any changes to flight times or destinations.

When Liam arrives in a new country and is required to take a mandatory rest break before flying to his next destination, he buys a phone sim card.

Liam can claim a deduction for the cost of the phone sim card bought overseas as he is required to be contactable for work.

If Liam also uses the phone card to contact his family while he is away from home, he is required to apportion the cost of the phone sim card for work and private purposes.

End of example

Self-education expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if they directly relate to your employment as a pilot and at the time you incur the expense 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 for the self-education expense if at the time you incur the expense it:

  • 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 (VETSL)
  • Trade Support Loan Program (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 to improve knowledge and skills in current job

Marcus is a pilot on a domestic aircraft carrier. Marcus' employer also goes to international destinations. Marcus wants to fly internationally for his employer as he will be paid more, however is not certified for the aircraft his employer uses for international flights.

Marcus decides to take an aircraft conversion course to upgrade his certification to fly his employer's international aircraft. Marcus must travel interstate to complete this course and is paying for the course himself.

Marcus' can claim his self-education expenses and related expenses including his accommodation and meal expenses (if away overnight). As his study will upgrade his qualifications and is likely to lead to an increase in his income.

End of example

 

Example: study to maintain or improve skills and knowledge

Lauren is a pilot and has heard about a new aircraft technology to reduce turbulence. Lauren decides to enrol in a study course to learn more about this topic as it would assist her in her current employment and increase her knowledge.

Lauren can claim a deduction for the cost incurred to enrol in a particular study course about new aircraft technology to reduce turbulence. This is because her studies:

  • will maintain and improve the skills and knowledge she needs to perform her current duties (which include flying a plane)
  • may result in an increase in her income.
End of example

 

Example: study isn't relevant to current duties

Claire is currently completing her cadetship with a regional airline and would like to become a pilot in the future. The airline may offer Claire a job at end of the training.

Claire can't claim a deduction for the self-education expenses associated with her cadetship because it will enable her to get employment as a pilot.

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 a pilot.

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, for example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion.

Example: attending a conference

Jasmine is a pilot and attends a week-long conference on advancements in the aviation industry and participates in various training exercises. Jasmine pays $1,500 to attend the conference and is not reimbursed by her employer.

Jamie can claim a deduction for the cost of attending the conference as she is maintaining or increasing the knowledge and skills she needs to earn her income in her current employment as a pilot.

End of example

Stationery

You can claim a deduction for the cost of logbooks, diaries and pens that you use for work.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer provides or reimburses you for these expenses.

Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen

You can claim a deduction for work-related use of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if you:

  • must work in the sun for extended periods
  • use these items to protect yourself from the real and likely risk of illness or injury while at work.

This includes prescription sunglasses and anti-glare glasses.

You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the products if you also wear them for private purposes.

For more pilot expenses, see:

QC60284