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Sales and marketing industry expenses G–O

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

Published 2 June 2024

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 if:

  • 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 by your employer on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing 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 × number of weeks worked = total number of claimable laundry loads

2 × 40 weeks = 80

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

80 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
  • the 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 or payment summary 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 or payment summary.

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 2023/3 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2023–24 income year?

For more sales and marketing manager expenses, see: