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Recruitment consultant expenses T–W

Last updated 18 June 2023

Details on claiming common recruitment consultant 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 to another work location because a fleet vehicle was not available.

You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of normal journeys between home and work, 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 you use to perform your duties as a recruitment consultant. For example, a laptop or mobile phone.

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: equipment for work-related use

Melissa buys an iPad for $779 on 1 July to take on client visits to record her notes and for work presentations. Melissa uses the iPad solely for work as she has another laptop at home for personal use.

As the iPad cost more than $300, Melissa can only claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (decline in value).

Melissa checks our website and looks up on our ruling on the effective life of depreciating assets. The Ruling says the effective life for a portable computer, that is a tablet, is 2 years.

She works out the deduction for the decline in value of her iPad using the prime cost method:

Asset cost × (days held ÷ 365) × (100% ÷ asset's effective life) × work use percentage

She has held the iPad for 365 days and her work use percentage is 100%.

$779 × (365 ÷ 365) × (100% ÷ 2) × 100% = $389.50

Melissa can claim a deduction of $389.50 for the decline in value of the iPad in the first year. Using the same method, she will be able to claim $389.50 in the following year.

End of example

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). For example, when you travel interstate to attend a work-related conference, seminar or training course.

You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you don’t incur 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 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 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 need 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 you claim a deduction for more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount you need to keep receipts for all 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. For example, show your work diary, that you received and correctly declared your travel allowance and bank statements.

Example: Travel allowance

Jennifer travels from Brisbane to Madrid to attend the World Employment Conference. She is away from home for 5 nights.

Her employer pays for the conference fee, her flights to Madrid and for her accommodation. Jennifer also receives a travel allowance of $150 per night from her employer to cover her meals and incidentals.

The travel allowance is show on her income statement at the end of the income year. Jennifer must include the travel allowance as income in her tax return.

Jennifer can claim a deduction for the overnight travel expenses she incurred (meals and incidentals) without providing receipts or other written evidence, as long as her claim doesn't exceed the reasonable allowance amount.

If requested Jennifer would still need to be able to show:

  • she was away overnight and that the travel was directly related to earning her employment income
  • she spent money on food and incidentals
  • how she calculated her claim.

During her work trip, Jennifer used her work diary to note down any expenses she incurred on meals and incidentals. Jennifer used this as a means of calculating her deduction. For example, Jennifer eats breakfast and lunch at the hotel each day and spends $19 per meal. Jennifer visits local restaurants each evening with other course participants and spends $27 for her dinner.

If Jennifer wanted to claim an amount in excess of the reasonable allowance amount, she will need written evidence for all expenses (not just for the amount in excess of the reasonable amounts).

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?

Union and professional association fees

You can claim a deduction for union and professional association fees you pay. You can use your income statement as evidence of the amount you pay if it's shown on there.

Working from home expenses

You may be able to claim a deduction for working from home expenses you incur as an employee. These can be additional running expenses such as electricity, the decline in value of equipment or furniture, phone and internet expenses. You must:

  • use one of the methods set out by us to calculate your deduction
  • keep the records required for the method that you choose.

There are some expenses you can't claim a deduction for as an employee. Employees who work at home can't claim costs:

  • for coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may provide you at work
  • for your children and their education including      
    • setting them up for online learning
    • teaching them at home
    • buying equipment such as iPads and desks
  • your employer pays for or reimburses you for the expense
  • for the decline in value of items provided by your employer – for example, a laptop or a phone.

Generally, as an employee, you can’t claim occupancy expenses (rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums), unless your home is your 'place of business'. This occurs where your home office is both:

  • your sole place of work because no other work location is provided by your employer
  • exclusively or almost exclusively used for work purposes and is not readily suitable or adaptable for private use in association with your home generally.

You can’t claim a deduction if your employer paid for your home office to be set up or they reimbursed you for the expense.

Use the Home office expenses calculator to help you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction for home office expenses.

Example: work from home running expenses

Winston is a recruitment consultant. He has an arrangement with his employer which allows him to work from home 2 days a week.

He sets up his spare room as his home office and he doesn't use it for any other purpose. He also buys a desktop computer on 1 July 2019 for $1,700.

Winston can claim his additional running expenses in respect of his home office but he can't claim occupancy expenses. His employer provides him with an office to work from, he chooses to work from home for his own private purposes.

He elects to use the fixed rate method to calculate his claim.

Winston keeps a diary over a four-week period and works out that he spends 8 days and a total of 48 hours working at home. This averages out to 12 hours per week (48 hours ÷ 4 weeks =12 hours).

He also keeps a record of the time he spends using his computer for work and private purposes in his diary and calculates that on average, he uses it 50% of the time for work purposes.

Winston determines that the effective life for his computer is 4 years and elects to use the diminishing value method to calculate the decline in value of it. He also determines that he worked from home 40 weeks during the income year.

Winston works out his claim as follows:

Hours per week × number of weeks worked × 67c per hour

12 × 40 × $0.67 = $321.60

Decline in value of computer:

Cost × (200% ÷ 4 years [effective life]) × (365 days ÷ 365 days) × work use percentage

$1700 × 0.50 × 1 × 0.50 = $425

Total deduction: $321.60 + $425.00 = $746.60

Winston rounds his calculation to the nearest whole dollar and claims $747 in his tax return.

End of example

For more information, see:

  • PS LA 2001/6 Verification approaches for home office and electronic device expenses
  • TR 93/30 Income tax: deductions for home office expenses
  • PCG 2023/1 Claiming a deduction for additional running expenses incurred while working from home - ATO compliance approach

For more recruitment consultants' expenses, see:

QC64672