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Sales and marketing industry expenses A–F

Last updated 18 June 2023

Details on claiming common sales and marketing manager or sales representative expenses.

Car expenses

You can't claim a car expenses deduction for normal trips between your home and regular place work. These are private expenses, even if you:

  • live a long way from your usual or normal workplace
  • have to work outside normal business hours (for example, weekend or early morning shifts).

In limited circumstances, you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work or where you had shifting places of employment.

To be able to claim a deduction for the cost of trips between home and work while carrying bulky tools or equipment, all the following conditions must be met:

  • the tools or equipment are essential to perform your employment duties
  • the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that    
    • because of the size and weight, they are awkward to transport
    • they can only be transported conveniently using a motor vehicle
     
  • there is no secure storage for such items at the workplace.

It will not be sufficient if you transport the tools or equipment merely as a matter of choice. For example, if your employer provides reasonably secure storage, your decision to transport items home will be a matter of choice.

You are considered to have shifting places of employment where you have no fixed place of work and you continually travel from one work site to another before returning home.

You can also claim a deduction for the cost of using a car you own, lease or hire (under a hire-purchase arrangement) when you drive:

  • between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from your first job in sales to a second job as a waiter
  • to and from an alternative workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, travelling from head office to a branch in the suburbs
  • from home directly to an alternative workplace – for example, travelling from home to meet a client at their business premises which is not your regular work location.

You can't claim car expenses for a car you use under a salary sacrifice or novated lease arrangement. This is because it's usually your employer leasing the car from the financing company and making it available for your use. You can, however, claim additional work-related expenses you incur that are associated with your work use of the car such as parking and tolls.

To claim a deduction, you must keep records of your car use. You can choose between the logbook method or the cents per kilometre method to work out your deduction.

If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to help you work out the percentage of work-related use, along with written evidence of your car expenses.

If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to be able to show how you work out your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

If you claim your work-related car expenses using one of the above methods, you can’t claim any further deductions in the same tax return for the same car. For example, petrol, servicing, and insurance costs.

To claim a deduction in your tax return, include the amount of your claim at Work-related car expenses. The Work-related car expenses calculator can help you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction.

You can’t use the cents per kilometre or logbook methods to work out your claim for a:

  • motorcycle
  • vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more (such as a ute)
  • vehicle that can transport 9 passengers or more (such as a minibus).

For these vehicles, you can claim the actual expenses you incur for your work-related travel. This includes costs such as fuel, oil, insurance and loan interest along with the decline in value of the vehicle. You must keep receipts for all your expenses and records to show your work-related use of the vehicle. Although you aren't required to keep a logbook, it is the easiest way to calculate your work-related use of the vehicle.

To claim a deduction for actual expenses you incur for a vehicle not defined as a car, include the amount at Work-related travel expenses.

Example: bulky equipment

Sue is a sales manager who uses a laptop computer in the office and when visiting clients. She carries it to and from work in her car.

As the computer isn't bulky equipment, she can't claim a deduction for her travel costs to and from work.

End of example

 

Example: travelling between workplaces

Nadeem is a sales manager who travels from his normal workplace to head office to attend a meeting. After the meeting, he travels directly back to his normal workplace and then home.

Nadeem can claim the cost of each journey between his workplace and head office as a deduction as the trips are for work purposes.

End of example

 

Example: shifting places of employment

Patricia is a sales manager looking after a large number of clients. She spends her working days travelling around to meet with clients. Patricia only goes to the office to finalise her paperwork when it is convenient for her to do so.

Patricia can claim a deduction for the car expenses she incurs when she travels:

  • between her home and her clients' premises
  • between clients' premises
  • between her clients' premises and the office
  • between her home and the office.

Patricia has no fixed place of work each day. She has shifting places of employment and continually travels from one to another before she returns home at the end of the day.

End of example

Child care

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of child care (including school holidays and before and after school care) when you're working. It's a private expense, and the expenses have no direct connection to earning your income.

Clothing and uniform expenses (including footwear)

With a few exceptions, clothing can't be deducted as a work-related expense.

You can't claim conventional clothing (including footwear) as a work-related expense, even if your employer requires you to wear it and you only wear these items of clothing at work.

'Conventional clothing' is everyday clothing worn by people regardless of their occupation – for example, business attire worn by a sales rep.

You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's in one of the following categories:

  • protective – clothing with protective features or functions that you wear to protect yourself from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, steel-capped boots, hi-vis clothing, or aprons or smocks to protect conventional clothing. Conventional clothes you wear at work are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work. This includes jeans, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, closed shoes.
  • occupation-specific – clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person with a particular profession, trade or occupation. For example, a judge's robes or a chef's chequered pants. Items traditionally worn in a profession are not occupation-specific where the clothing is worn by multiple professions.
  • a compulsory uniform – clothing that your employer strictly and consistently enforces you wear by workplace agreement or policy and distinctly identifies either    
    • you as an employee working for a particular employer
    • the products or services your employer provides
     
  • a non-compulsory uniform – clothing that your employer registers on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing with AusIndustry.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer buys, repairs or replaces your clothing.

Example: compulsory uniform with a logo

Mike's employer requires him to wear shirts they provide when he is at work. Each shirt is embroidered with his employer's logo. Mike is also required to wear black pants and black shoes.

Mike can't claim the cost to buy, repair or replace his black pants or shoes as they are conventional items.

Mike can't claim the cost of buying the embroidered shirts as they are provided by his employer.

However, Mike can claim a deduction for the cost of washing the embroidered shirts as they are:

  • distinctive items with the employer's logo
  • compulsory for him to wear at work.
End of example

 

Example: no deduction for conventional clothing

Lena wears a business suit to work. It’s not compulsory for a staff member to wear a business suit, but the employer encourages staff members to do so.

Lena can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning these items because they are private in nature, even if her employer tells her to wear them.

End of example

 

Example: deduction for protective clothing

Danijela is a sales representative for a company that sells manufacturing equipment. When she visits some of her clients on site, she is required to wear a high vis vest over her clothing for safety purposes.

Danijela can claim a deduction for the cost of buying a hi-vis vest to wear on certain site visits. The hi-vis vest protects her from the risk of being injured while on those sites performing her employment duties.

End of example

Drivers licence

You can't claim a deduction for the cost to get or renew your drivers licence, even if you must have it as a condition of employment. This is a private expense.

Entertainment and social functions

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of any entertainment, fundraising or social functions. This applies even if they are compulsory, non-compulsory or you discuss work matters at the event.

Entertainment and social functions include the cost of:

  • work breakfasts, lunches or dinners
  • attendance at sporting events
  • gala or social nights
  • concerts or dances
  • cocktail parties
  • other similar types of functions or events.

These are private expenses because these events do not have a direct connection to your work duties.

You also can’t claim the cost of travelling to and from functions.

Example: entertainment costs you can't claim

Rachael attends a social breakfast organised by a women in business network. These breakfasts are held every other month. These events encourage women in sales and marketing to network with colleagues.

Rachael can’t claim a deduction for the cost of attending the breakfast.

End of example

First aid courses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you are both:

  • a designated first aid person
  • need to complete a first aid training course to assist in emergency work situations.

You can’t claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for the cost of the course.

For more sales and marketing manager expenses, see:

Sales and marketing industry expenses G–O

Details on claiming common sales and marketing manager or sales representative expenses for:

Glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses

You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses, even if you need to wear them while working. These are private expenses.

You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective glasses if you wear them to reduce the real and likely risk of illness or injury while working. Protective glasses include anti-glare or photochromatic glasses, sunglasses, safety glasses or goggles.

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

Grooming expenses

You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even though:

  • you receive allowance for grooming
  • your employer expects you to be well groomed when at work.

All grooming expenses and products are private expenses

Laundry and maintenance

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 calculate and be able to show how you worked out your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.

Example: uniform and conventional clothing laundry expenses

Nick is a sales manager. His employer requires that he buys shirts with the company logo to be worn at work. He is also required to comply with dress standards and wear smart black pants to work.

Nick can claim a deduction for cost of buying and laundering his work shirts as the logo makes them unique and distinctive to the organisation.

Nick can't claim a deduction for his work pants even though he is required to wear them and he only wears them to work. Black pants without a logo or other feature are conventional clothing.

Nick works for 40 weeks of the financial year and washes his shirts twice a week in a mixed load of laundry.

Nick calculates his laundry claim as follows:

Number of claimable laundry loads per week × total number of claimable laundry loads × reasonable cost per load = total claim amount

2 × 40 weeks × $0.50 per load = $40

End of example

 

Example: no deduction allowable for business attire

Lachlan is a sales and marketing manager. His employer has a strict dress code requiring all staff to wear professional business attire to work. Lachlan purchases business shirts and suits that he only wears to work.

Although Lachlan's employer has a strict dress code for staff, Lachlan can't claim a deduction for buying and washing of these items as they are conventional clothes and not occupation specific, protective or a uniform.

End of example

Meal and snack expenses

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of food, drink or snacks you consume during your normal working hours, even if you receive a meal allowance. These are private expenses.

You can claim:

  • overtime meal expenses, but only if you buy and eat the meal while you are performing overtime and you receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial award
  • cost of meals you incur when you are travelling overnight for the purpose of carrying out your employment duties (travel expenses).

Newspapers and other news services, magazines and professional publications

The cost of newspapers, other news services and magazines are generally private 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 private purposes, you can only claim the portion related to your work-related use.

Overtime meal expenses

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 not shown 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 the 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 work out your claim.

Example: deduction for overtime meal

Carl is a sales manager. Twenty times during the year Carl works overtime on the weekend. He receives an overtime meal break and overtime meal allowance of $20 under the award each time this occurs.

Carl generally buys and eats a meal costing $15 during overtime. This is less than the reasonable amount for the relevant income year. Carl's income statement shows the overtime meal allowances as a separate allowance totalling $400. That is, 20 overtime shifts × $20.

In his tax return, Carl includes the allowance as income and claims a deduction. He works out his deduction as:

$15 × 20 overtime shifts = $300

That is the actual amount he spent on overtime meals multiplied by the number of overtime shifts.

As the amount Carl spent on his meals is less than the reasonable amount, Carl doesn't have to keep receipts. However, if asked, Carl will have to show that he spent the $300 on overtime meals and how he worked out his claim.

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?

For more sales and marketing manager expenses, see:

QC21828