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Sales and marketing industry expenses T–W

Last updated 18 June 2023

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

Tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment you use to perform your duties as a sales and marketing manager or sales representative. For example, computer equipment.

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: apportioned deduction for decline in value

Alan is employed by a technology company as a sales manager for their electronic goods division. He regularly works from home and buys a laptop for $1,200 to use for work purposes.

Alan regularly uses the laptop to stream movies and television shows as well as buy personal goods online. Alan keeps records of his work use and person use of the computer and based on those records, he calculates his work-related use of the laptop as 60%.

Alan can claim a deduction for the decline in value over the effective life of the laptop. If the laptop's decline in value is $600 for the relevant income year, Alan's deduction is $360, that is, 60% of the laptop's decline in value.

End of example

 

Example: equipment costing $300 or less

Jaclyn is a Sales Manager for a paper company. Her job requires her to regularly attend meetings with clients. She buys a bag for $285 to carry her work laptop, work mobile and presentation handouts to these meetings. Jaclyn also carries her cash, cards, personal mobile and other personal items in the same bag.

Jaclyn can claim a deduction for the work-related use of the bag. Jaclyn applies a reasonable basis and determines that the work-related use is 60%.

Jaclyn can claim a deduction for the full value of the bag as it is $300 or less but needs to reduce her claim to 60% of the purchase price.

Jaclyn's deduction is $171 ($285 × 0.60 = $171).

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 haven’t incurred 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 of the following apply:

  • the travel allowance is not 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 have 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 written evidence for all your 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.

Example: reasonable allowance amount

Antoni travels from Adelaide to Mt Gambier for a job. He is away from home for five nights. His employer pays him a travel allowance of $110 per night to cover the cost of his accommodation, meals and incidental expenses. The allowance isn't shown on his income statement at the end of the income year.

The travel allowance paid to Antoni is less than the reasonable allowance amount. Antoni spends all of the travel allowance on his travel expenses.

Antoni doesn't need to include his allowance on his tax return because:

  • it's not shown on his income statement
  • it's less than the reasonable allowance amount
  • he spends it all to cover his travel expenses.

This means Antoni can't claim a deduction for his travel expenses on his tax return.

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 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'.

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 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 sales and marketing manager expenses, see:

Find out about sales and marketing managers:

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