Details on claiming common real estate employee expenses.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of gifts bought for work purposes if, you're a salesperson or property manager entitled to receive your income from commission and or retainer.
Gifts you can claim include:
- a Christmas hamper
- a bottle of whisky
- gift vouchers
- a bottle of perfume
- a pen set.
You can't claim a deduction if you earn a fixed salary and not entitled to earn a commission.
You can't claim a deduction for gifts that are in the form of entertainment – for example, tickets to attend a live sporting event.
You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses, even if you need to wear them while working as these are personal expenses.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of anti-glare or protective glasses if you wear them to reduce the risk of illness or injury while working as a real estate employee.
You only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.
You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even though:
- you receive an allowance for grooming
- your employer expects you to be well groomed when at work.
All grooming expenses and products are personal expenses
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 also 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 be able to show how you worked out your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.
Example: when you can claim a deduction for uniform clothing
Chloe is a real estate agent. Her employer provides and requires staff to wear polo shirts with the company’s name and logo on them. Chloe is also required to wear plain black pants or a skirt to work.
Chloe can claim a deduction for the cost of laundering her shirts.
Even though Chloe’s employer requires her to wear black pants and skirts to work she can't claim a deduction for laundering these items. They are considered conventional clothing.
Chloe works for 40 weeks of the financial year and washes these items twice a week in a mixed load with other clothes.
Chloe calculates her laundry claim as follows:
2 × 40 weeks × $0.50 per load = $40
As her total claim for laundry expenses is under $150, Chloe isn't required to keep evidence of her laundry expenses. However, if asked, she will still be required to explain how she calculated the claim.End of example
You can claim a deduction for the work-related portion of the decline in value of marketing tools and equipment you use to carry out your employment duties, such as cameras used for property photos.
The cost of newspapers, other news services and magazines are generally personal 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 personal purposes, you can only claim the portion related to your work-related use.
Example: subscription relating to work activities
Judy is a real estate salesperson who subscribes to the local paper to keep abreast of the properties available for sale and the prices of those properties.
The real estate section only appears in the Wednesday and Saturday editions of those papers.
Judy can claim a portion of the cost of the Wednesday and Saturday newspapers.End of example
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 receipts. We call this the 'reasonable amount'. If you receive an overtime meal allowance, are claiming a deduction and spent:
- up to 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 worked 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 real estate employee expenses, see: