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Professional sportsperson expenses A–F

Last updated 6 June 2023

Details on claiming professional sportsperson expenses.

Car expenses

You can't claim a car expenses deduction for normal trips between your home and regular place of work. These are private expenses, even if you:

  • live a long way from your usual or regular workplace
  • have to work outside normal business hours – for example, weekend or early mornings.

In limited circumstances, you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work or where you had shifting places of employment.

To be able to claim a deduction for the cost of trips between home and work while carrying bulky tools or equipment, all the following conditions must be met:

  • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties
  • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that    
    • because of the size and weight, they are awkward to transport
    • they can only be transported conveniently using a motor vehicle
  • there is no secure storage for such items at the workplace.

It will not be sufficient if you transport the tools or equipment merely as a matter of choice. For example, if your employer provides reasonably secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

You are considered to have shifting places of employment where you have no fixed place of work and you continually travel from one work site to another before returning home.

You can also claim a deduction for the cost of using a car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase arrangement) when you drive:

  • directly between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from your first job as a footballer directly to your second job as a recurring guest on a sports radio talk show
  • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, from your training venue to your club's head office for an ad hoc meeting
  • from home directly to an alternative place of work – for example, travelling from home to a local school to give a presentation on the benefits of playing sport.

However, as a professional sportsperson, you may be able to claim deductions for travel to and from home for training, matches and other sporting activities where any of the following applies:

  • there's a practical necessity of travelling by car – such as when you need to transport bulky sporting gear and you do not transport them as a matter of convenience
  • the car travel is required to enable you to comply with particular terms in your contract
  • your home is considered your base of operations.

To claim a deduction, you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the cents per kilometre method or the logbook method to work out your deduction.

If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to help you work out the percentage of work-related use, along with written evidence, of your car.

If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to be able to show how you work out your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

If you claim your work-related car expenses using one of the above methods, you can’t claim any further deductions in the same tax return for the same car. For example, petrol, servicing, and insurance costs.

To claim a deduction in your tax return, include the amount of your claim at Work-related car expenses. The Work-related car expenses calculator helps calculate the amount you can claim as a deduction for car expenses.

You can’t use the cents per kilometre or logbook methods to work out your claim for a:

  • motorcycle
  • vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more (such as a ute)
  • vehicle that can transport 9 passengers or more (such as a minibus).

For these vehicles, you can claim the actual expenses you incur for your work-related travel. This includes costs such as fuel, oil, insurance and loan interest along with the decline in value of the vehicle. You must keep receipts for all your expenses and records to show your work-related use of the vehicle. Although you are not required to keep a logbook, it is the easiest way to calculate your work-related use of the vehicle.

To claim a deduction for actual expenses you incur for a vehicle not defined as a car, include the amount at Work-related travel expenses.

Example: travel between home and regular place of work

Liz is a professional cricket player. Liz trains at the venue where home games are played. Liz carries her cricket shoes and bat to training and on game days and always drives herself.

Liz can't claim a deduction for the car expenses she incurs for trips between her home and the training venue. The equipment she carries are essential to performing her duties but they are not bulky. The expenses are private.

End of example

Child care

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of child care (including school holidays and before and after school care) when you’re working. It’s a private expense, and the expenses have no direct connection to earning your income.

Clothing and uniform expenses (including footwear)

With a few exceptions, clothing can't be deducted as a work-related expense.

You can't claim conventional clothing (including footwear) as a work-related expense, even if your employer requires you to wear it and you only wear these items of clothing at work.

'Conventional clothing' is everyday clothing worn by people regardless of their occupation – for example, sports gear worn by athletes.

You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's in one of the following categories:

  • protective – clothing with protective features or functions you wear to protect yourself from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, studded football boots, shin or leg pads and clothing with sun protection. Conventional clothes you wear at work are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work. This includes shorts, t-shirts, socks, closed shoes.
  • occupation-specific – clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person associated with a particular profession, trade or occupation. For example, a judge's robes or a chef's chequered pants. Items traditionally worn in a profession are not occupation-specific where the clothing is worn by multiple professions. It is unlikely that Professional sportspeople would have occupation-specific clothing.
  • a compulsory uniform – clothing that your employer strictly and consistently enforces you wear by workplace agreement or policy and distinctly identifies either    
    • you as an employee working for a particular employer
    • the products or services your employer provides
  • a non-compulsory uniform – clothing that your employer registers on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing with AusIndustry.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer buys, repairs or replaces your clothing.

Example: when you can claim a deduction for protective clothing

John is a professional rugby league player for a well-known national club. His pre-season training ground is outside and he normally spends 6 to 8 hours per day, 5 days per week on the field.

John buys a SPF 50+ long sleeve sun shirt to wear at training for $80. The shirt doesn't have an emblem or logo of John’s employer on it.

Normally, this shirt would be considered conventional clothing and John would not be able to claim a deduction for its cost as a work-related expense. However, in this situation, John can claim a deduction for the cost of buying the shirt because:

  • he is exposed to the sun for extended periods in the course of undertaking his work-related activities
  • the shirt is protective in nature as it is designed to provide a sufficient degree of protection from the risk of illness or injury posed by the sun.
End of example

 

Example: you can’t claim a deduction for the purchase of conventional clothing

Renee is a professional soccer player in the W-League. Her club provides her with team training uniforms. Renee decides to buy additional training wear from a general sportswear store to wear in addition to her training uniforms.

Renee can't claim a deduction for the buying the additional training wear as the items of clothing are not a compulsory or non-compulsory uniform. The clothing is of a conventional nature and Renee has made a personal choice to purchase additional items.

End of example

Drivers licence

You can't claim a deduction for obtaining or renewing your drivers licence, even if you must have it as a condition of employment. This is a private expense.

Entertainment and social functions

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of any entertainment, fundraising or social functions. This applies even if they are compulsory, non-compulsory or you discuss work matters at the event. Entertainment and social functions include the cost of:

  • work breakfasts, lunches or dinners
  • attendance at sporting events as a spectator
  • gala or social nights
  • concerts or dances
  • cocktail parties
  • other similar types of functions or events.

These are private expenses because these events do not have a direct connection to your work duties.

You also can’t claim the cost of travelling to and from functions.

Example: no deduction for meal

Billy is a professional AFL player. Billy invites his manager to dinner where they discuss issues regarding his current contract and sponsorship deals over their meals and a bottle of wine. Billy pays for the dinner.

Billy can't claim a deduction for the cost of the dinner or the cost of travelling to and from the restaurant. Even though Billy and his manager only discuss issues related to Billy's career, thee expenses are private entertainment expenses.

End of example

Fitness expenses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of gym fees and fitness-related expenses, as maintaining a very high level of fitness and physical activity is an essential element to you in gaining income.

Expenses you may be able to claim include:

  • gym fees
  • gym and training equipment that cost $300 or less.

Generally, if the cost of an asset is $300 or less, you may claim an immediate deduction for the cost of the item in the income year you buy it. If the item costs more than $300, you can claim a decline in value deduction for the cost over the effective life of the item.

The following expenses are not allowable health and fitness deductions:

  • the cost of a program specifically designed to manage weight
  • the cost of normal food substitutes or the cost of food for special dietary purposes
  • the cost of vitamins, minerals, or sports supplements, such as protein shakes.

You can’t in any circumstances claim a deduction for expenses you incur to buy conventional clothing you use in the course of keeping fit. This includes tracksuits, running or aerobic shoes, socks, sporting shirts or shorts.

For more professional sportspersons expenses, see:

QC36159