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Professional sportsperson expenses P–S

Last updated 6 June 2023

Details on claiming professional sportsperson 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. These are private expenses.

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

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.

For more information, see:

Example: calculating phone expenses

Sebastian uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

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

At least once a year, Sebastian prints out his account and highlights the work-related phone calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is phoning for work – for example, his manager, the club and his coach.

Out of the 300 phone calls he has made in a 4-week period, Sebastian works out that 90 (30%) of the individual phone call expenses billed to him are work-related and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

Sebastian was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months).

Sebastian calculates his phone calls for work purposes as follows:

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

(90 ÷ 300 = 0.30 (that is 30%)

Sebastian can claim 30% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes

($49 × 0.30) = $14.70

Since Sebastian 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 × $14.70 = $155.82

End of example

 

Example: work and private use

Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails, training schedules and to access the WAFL website and player portal. Sylvette also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes.

Sylvette's internet use diary showed 20% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 80% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200, she can claim:

$1,200 × 0.20 = $240 as work-related internet use.

If anyone else in Sylvette's household accesses the internet connection, Sylvette must reduce her claim to account for their use.

End of example

Player manager fees

Under existing playing contracts, you can claim a deduction for all the following costs:

  • settling disputes relating to existing terms or conditions of the contract which result in payments of revenue amounts, including the cost of representation
  • changing or renegotiating the conditions of a contract, if the existing agreement allows for this
  • renewing or extending a fixed-term agreement, if the existing agreement allows for this.

You may also be able to claim a deduction for the cost of fees paid to a manager to negotiate a new playing contract, depending on the nature of the playing contract and competition rules.

You should seek advice about your personal circumstances.

Private health insurance

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of private health insurance, even it if is a condition of your employment.

Professional association fees

You can claim a deduction for membership fees for your relevant players' or professional association you pay. If the amount you paid is shown on your income statement or payment summary, you can use it to prove your claim.

Removal and relocation expenses

You can’t claim a deduction for the cost to transfer or relocate to a new work location. This is the case whether the move is a condition of your existing job or you are taking up a new job.

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 the work-related portion.

Self-education expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if it directly relates to your employment as a professional sportsperson and 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 a self-education expense if at the time you incur the expense, it:

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

If your self-education and study expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course 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.

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 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 isn't relevant to current duties

Tina is a professional netballer playing in Australia's premier netball competition. At the end of her netball career, Tina is interested in becoming a sports lawyer and is studying for Bachelor of Laws.

Tina can't claim her self-education expenses because the course is not directly related to her current employment as a professional netballer.

End of example

Seminars, conferences and training courses

You can claim for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a professional sportsperson.

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: When you can claim a deduction for a training course

Sally plays professional rugby union for a national team. Sally’s club (her employer) encourages all players to attend an annual specialised training course on physical endurance and nutrition. The training course is run locally and costs $2,000 to attend. The club doesn’t pay for or reimburse their players the cost to attend.

The course has a direct connection to Sally’s income-producing activities and will help her maintain a specific set of skills or knowledge for her role.

Sally can claim a deduction for the cost to attend the training course

End of example

 

Example: When you can’t claim a deduction for a training course

Jamie is a professional soccer player nearing the end of his career. He would like to transfer into a coaching role once he finishes playing professionally. Jamie decides to start attending coaching seminars and training courses to build his skills and knowledge.

Jamie can't claim a work-related deduction for attending such events as they don’t directly relate to his current income producing activities.

End of example

Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens

You can claim a deduction for the 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 professional sportsperson expenses, see:

QC36159