Details on claiming common teacher and education professional expenses for:
- Glasses, contact lenses and anti-glare glasses
- Grooming expenses
- Hiring equipment
- Laundry and maintenance
- Meal and snack expenses
- Overtime meal expenses
You can't claim a deduction for prescription glasses or contact lenses, even if you need to wear them while working as 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.
Example: sunglasses worn while teaching
Dirk teaches maritime courses at TAFE. He spends around half of his time teaching outdoors.
Dirk buys a pair of good quality sunglasses with polarised lenses for $290 to protect his eyes from sun damage. He only wears the sunglasses when he is teaching outdoors.
Dirk can claim a deduction of $290 for his sunglasses.End of example
You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even though:
- you may receive an allowance for grooming
- your employer expects you to be well groomed when at work.
All grooming expenses and products are private expenses.
You can claim the cost of hiring equipment that you use for carrying out your employment duties. However, if you also use the equipment you hire for private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for your work-related use.
You can't claim a deduction for the costs you incur for washing, drying, ironing or mending conventional clothing that is stained or damaged at work. For example, washing the clothes you wear to work to remove stains such as chalk, food or paint.
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, an apron)
- 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 and 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.
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).
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 part of your salary and wages and not included 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 all your expenses.
In all cases, you need to be able to show:
- you spent the money
- how you calculated your claim.
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 teachers and education professionals' expenses, see: