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Travel agent employee expenses H–P

Last updated 23 June 2023

Details on claiming common employee travel agent 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: conventional clothing

Charlotte is a travel agent. Her employer doesn’t provide a uniform but requires staff to wear business attire to work. Charlotte buys professional attire including suits and shirts that she only wears to work.

These clothes are conventional and she can't claim a deduction for the cost of washing, drying and ironing them.

End of example

 

Example: deduction allowed for uniform

Lucas is a travel agent. His employer provides work shirts with the company logo to be worn at work. He is also required to comply with dress standards and wear smart black pants.

Lucas can claim a deduction for the laundering of his work shirts as the logo makes them unique and distinctive to the organisation. He can't claim the cost of the shirts as he didn't incur the expense.

Lucas can't claim a deduction for the purchase or laundering of his work pants even though he only wears them to work. Black pants without a logo or other features are not unique and distinctive to the organisation he works for. They are conventional items of clothing even though he only wears them to work.

Lucas works for 40 weeks of the financial year and washes his shirts twice a week in a mixed load with other clothes.

Lucas calculates his laundry claim as follows:

2 × 40 weeks × $0.50 per load = $40

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.

Example: work-related magazine subscription

Monique is an employee travel agent. She subscribes to a magazine called Travel Bulletin which is a monthly travel industry magazine. Monique's yearly subscription is $55.

Monique can claim a deduction of $55 for her subscription to the magazine because the content is specific to her employment as a travel agent.

End of example

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 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 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: overtime meals less than reasonable amount

Ben is an employee travel agent. During the 2021–22 income year, he works overtime on 6 occasions. Ben's employer pays him $12.20 as an overtime meal allowance under the Award each time he works overtime.

The total allowance of $73.20 ($12.20 × 6 = $73.20) Ben receives for the year is shown on his 2022–23 income statement.

During his overtime meal break, Ben buys and consumes either a noodle dish, hamburger or sandwich as well as a drink. The cost of the food and drink is around $15 on average.

The reasonable amount for overtime meal expenses is $33.50.

Ben must include the overtime meal allowance of $73.20 as income in his 2022–23 tax return.

Ben can claim a deduction of $90 ($15 × 6 = $90) as a deduction for his overtime meal expenses. As the amount Ben incurs is less than the reasonable amount, he doesn't have to keep receipts. However, he will still need to be show that he spent the money and how he works 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?

Passport application fees

You can't claim a deduction for acquiring a passport, because this primarily relates to your personal right to travel overseas.

Phone, data and internet expenses

You can claim a deduction for phone, data and internet costs for the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.

If your phone, data and internet use for work is incidental and you're not claiming more than $50 in total, you don't need to keep records.

If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill where you can identify your work-related phone calls and data use.

You can’t claim a deduction if your employer:

  • provides you with a phone for work and pays for your usage
  • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

You can’t claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while travelling for work. This is because these are personal phone calls.

If all or part of your work-related phone, data and internet expenses are incurred as a result of working from home and you use the revised fixed rate method to claim your working from home deductions, you can't claim a separate deduction for these expenses.

For more information, see:

Example: calculating phone expenses

Sebastian uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month that includes details of his individual calls.

At least once a year, Sebastian prints out his account and highlights the work-related phone calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is phoning for work – for example, his manager and his clients.

Out of the 300 phone calls he has made in a 4-week period, Sebastian works out that 30 (10%) of the individual call expenses billed to him are for work and applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

Sebastian calculates his phone calls for work purposes as follows:

Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls

30 ÷ 300 = 0.10 (that is 10%)

Sebastian can claim 10% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes.

$49 × 0.10 = $4.90

Since Sebastian was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

10.6 months × $4.90 = $51.94

End of example

 

Example: work and private use

Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and manage her appointments. Sylvette uses her computer and the internet for work and private purposes.

Sylvette's internet use diary showed 20% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 80% was for private use.

As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

$1,200 × 0.20 = $240 as work-related internet use.

If there was anyone else that accesses the internet connection, Sylvette must reduce her claim to account for their use.

End of example

For more employee travel agent expenses, see:

QC19099