Details on claiming common real estate employee expenses.
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 a private expense.
You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips.
Example: parking fees
Prudence is a commercial real estate agent and drives her own car to the firm she works at each day and parks in the secure parking centre down the street.
Following a morning briefing with her team each morning, Prudence often drives her car to other locations to meet clients or show her listings. She often uses toll roads and is must pay for parking on these trips. Her employer doesn't reimburse her for these costs.
Prudence can't claim the cost she incurs parking at her regular place of work. However, she can claim tolls and parking costs associated with her trips to meet clients and show her listings.End of example
You can claim a deduction for the 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.
If all or part of your work-related phone, data and internet expenses are incurred as a result of working from home and you use the revised fixed rate method to claim your working from home deductions, you can't claim a separate deduction for these expenses.
For more information, see:
Example: calculating phone expenses
Sebastian is a real estate salesperson. Sebastian uses his own mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $55 a month which includes unlimited calls and texts and 40GB of data.
He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month that includes details of his individual phone calls and when he accessed the internet on his phone.
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 calling for work – for example, the office, his clients and buyers. He also identifies his work-related internet by comparing his bill with his work diary.
Out of the 300 phone calls he has made in a 4 week period, Sebastian works out that 270 (90%) of the individual phone call expenses billed to him are for work.
Sebastian calculates his phone calls for work purposes as follows:
Total work calls ÷ total number of calls = work use percentage for calls
270 ÷ 300 = 0.90 (that is 90%)
Sebastian used 10GB of his allocated data and estimates that 7GB was used for work purposes.
Data for work purposes
Total work use data ÷ total data use = work use percentage for data
7GB ÷ 10GB = 0.70 (that is 70%)
Sebastian takes an average of these to determine her work use percentage
[Work use percentage for calls + Work use percentage of data] ÷ 2 = Overall work use percentage.
[0.90 + 0.70] ÷ 2 = 0.80 (that is 80%)
Sebastian can claim 80% of the total bill of $55 for each month for work purposes
$55 × 0.80 = $44
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 × $44 = $466.40End of example
Example: work and private use
Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails, research property prices and to manage her appointments and property listings. Sylvette also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes.
Sylvette's internet use diary showed 40% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 60% was for private use.
As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:
$1,200 × 0.40 = $480 as work-related internet use
If there was anyone else that accesses the internet connection, Sylvette will need to reduce her claim to account for their use.End of example
You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for personal purposes, you can only claim an amount for your work-related use.
You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if they directly relate to your employment as a real estate employee and at the time expense was incurred 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 if 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 or profession
- 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: self-education not related to current employment
Deakin is an accredited real estate agent. He is thinking of setting up his own agency at some stage, so he decides to complete a Bachelor of Commerce to improve his general business knowledge. .
Deakin can't claim a deduction for the course and associated expenses as it does not directly relate to his current employment as a real estate agent.End of example
Example: employment related course deductible
Christine is a property manager. She has predominantly managed long term rentals but she has recently started looking after some of the short term rentals managed by her employer.
To improve her knowledge of the short term rentals, Christine enrols in CPD course on short term rental accommodation. Christine’s employer doesn't pay for the course or reimburse her for the costs she incurs to attend the course.
Christine can claim a deduction for the CPD course and associated expenses as the course enables her to maintain or improve the skills and knowledge specific to her current income-producing activities.End of example
You can claim a deduction for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a real estate employee.
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: relevant conference
Jack is a real estate agent. Jack attends the Real Estate Institute QLD summit and pays for flights to Queensland, his accommodation and his meal expenses. Jack's employer pays for his registration fee.
Jack can't claim a deduction for the registration fee as he did not incur the expense.
Jack can claim a deduction for the cost of his return flights and his accommodation and meals while he is attending the conference. The conference is related to Jack's work as a real estate agent.End of example
You can claim a deduction for the cost of diaries, business cards, pens, logbooks and other stationery that you purchase and use for work purposes.
For more real estate employee expenses, see: