ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Professional sportsperson expenses T–W

Last updated 6 June 2023

Details on claiming professional sportsperson expenses.

Taxi, ride-share, public transport and car hire

You can claim a deduction for transport costs if you travel in the course of performing your work. For example, taking a taxi from your regular workplace to another work location.

You can’t claim a deduction for travel expenses between home and work because these are private expenses.

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

Tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment if you use them to perform your duties as a professional sportsperson.

You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.

If the tool or equipment cost you $300 or less, you can claim a deduction for the full amount in the year you buy it, if:

  • you use it mainly for work purposes
  • it's not part of a set that together cost more than $300.

You can claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (that is, decline in value), if the tool or equipment:

  • cost more than $300
  • is part of a set that together cost more than $300.

If you bought the tool or item of equipment part way through the year, you can only claim a deduction for the decline in value for the period of the income year that you own it. To work out your deduction use the Depreciation and capital allowances tool.

You can also claim a deduction for the cost of repairs to tools and equipment that you use for work purposes.

You can’t claim a deduction for tools and equipment that your employer or a third party supplies for use.

Example: When you can claim a deduction for equipment

Julian is employed as a professional basketball player and represents Australia at the national level.

At the recommendation of his team’s trainer, he buys a set of resistance bands from his local sports store as a means of recovery and warm down while he travels for work. Julian leaves them in his locker at the club when he isn’t travelling as he has a separate set he uses at home.

Julian can claim a work-related deduction for buying the bands as he uses them for a work-related purpose. The bands cost less than $300 so Julian can claim an immediate deduction for the total cost.

End of example

 

Example: When you can claim a deduction for equipment

Olivia is a professional soccer player in the W-League. She buys a set of markers and a soccer ball for $100 to use at home between seasons. She uses this equipment to maintain her basic skills before official preseason conditioning starts. She also allows family members to use the equipment for personal enjoyment.

Olivia can claim a deduction for the cost of the equipment as she uses this equipment to maintain her skills for a work-related purpose. Olivia will need to apportion the cost of the equipment as it has been used by her family for personal entertainment.

Olivia determines the equipment was used 70% of the time for work purposes. Therefore, Olivia can claim a deduction for $70 which is 70% of the cost of the equipment.

End of example

Training and research material

You may be able to claim the costs of training and research material if this is an essential part of your official training plan.

Only claim the portion of the expense that relates to your work use. Seek advice about your personal circumstances.

Travel expenses

You can claim a deduction for travel expenses you incur when your work requires you to both:

  • travel for work
  • sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties.

Expenses you can claim include your accommodation, meals and expenses which are incidental to the travel (incidentals).

You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you haven’t incurred any expenses, because:

  • you slept in accommodation your employer provides
  • you eat meals your employer provides
  • your employer or a third party reimburses you for any costs you incur.

You also can't claim a deduction if you are not required to sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties. For example, if you fly interstate and return home the same day, or you choose to sleep near your workplace rather than returning home.

Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn’t automatically mean you can claim a deduction. In all cases, you must be able to show:

  • you were away overnight
  • you have spent the money
  • the travel directly relates to earning your employment income
  • how you work out your claim.

If you receive a travel allowance, you must include it as assessable income in your tax return unless all of the following apply:

  • the travel allowance is not shown on your income statement or payment summary
  • the travel allowance doesn't exceed the Commissioner's reasonable amount
  • you spent the whole allowance on deductible accommodation, meal and incidental expenses, if applicable.

The Commissioner's reasonable amount is set each year. The amount is only used to determine whether an exception from keeping written evidence applies for the following expenses which are covered by a travel allowance:

  • accommodation
  • meals
  • incidentals.

You don’t have to keep written evidence such as receipts if both of the following apply:

  • you received a travel allowance from your employer for the expenses
  • your deduction is less than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

If your deduction is for more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount you need to keep written evidence for all your expenses, not just for the amount over the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

Even if you are not required to keep written evidence such as receipts, you must be able to explain your claim and show you spent the amounts.

Example: When you can claim a deduction for travel expenses

Ruth is a professional cricket player. She competes in both the national competition and representative games when she is selected. Ruth's employer directly pays for her flights and accommodation. Ruth receives some meals on game day but she receives an allowance to cover the cost of her other meals.

Ruth travels to England for the Ashes tour.

Ruth can claim a deduction for the cost of meals she incurs while travelling for work purposes.

Ruth can't claim the costs of flights, accommodation or the meals that are provided because she doesn't incur these expenses. Her employer pays for them directly.

End of example

 

Example: When you can’t claim a deduction for travel expenses

Daniel is a professional baseballer and travels to the US to compete in a tournament. Daniel's employer pay for all of his accommodation, meals and incidental expenses.

Daniel's team wins and he decides to take his family on a holiday to South America to celebrate directly after the tournament. Daniel spends $3,000 on flights for his family to South America and $2,000 for 3 nights’ accommodation in a luxury hotel.

Daniel can't claim a deduction for accommodation, meals and incidental expenses during the tournament as he does not incur them.

Daniel also can't claim the expenses he incurs for the South American trip. It is a holiday for Daniel and his family and is private in nature.

End of example

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?

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is a private expense. This is because travel insurance invariably covers items that are generally private in nature and can't be claimed as a deduction.

For more professional sportsperson expenses, see:

QC36159