ato logo
Search Suggestion:

D5 Other work-related expenses 2021

Complete question D5 to claim any other work-related expenses you incurred as an employee and have not already claimed.

Last updated 26 May 2021

This question is about any other work-related expenses you incurred as an employee and have not already claimed, including:

  • union fees and subscriptions to trade, business or professional associations
  • overtime meal expenses, provided that
    • you received a genuine overtime meal allowance from your employer that was paid under an industrial law, award or agreement
    • you purchased and consumed a meal during your overtime
    • you have included the amount of the meal allowance as income at item 2, and
    • if your claim was more than $31.95 per meal, you have written evidence, such as receipts, that shows the cost of the meals
      (An amount for overtime meals that has been included as part of your normal salary and wages – for example, under a workplace agreement, is not an overtime meal allowance.)
  • professional seminars, courses, conferences and workshops
  • reference books, technical journals and trade magazines
  • the work-related portion of tools and equipment and professional libraries; you may be able to claim an immediate deduction for an item that cost $300 or less, otherwise, you claim a deduction for the decline in value of an item over its effective life; for more information, see Guide to depreciating assets 2021
  • the work-related portion of items that protect you from the risk of injury or illness posed by your work or your work environment, such as
    • hard hats, safety glasses and sunscreens
    • other protective items you buy and use at work where your employment duties require you to have physical contact or be in close proximity to customers or clients
    • face masks where you are required to wear a mask at work because of COVID-19
      (for more information, see Protective items, equipment and products)
      but not
    • protective clothing and footwear, which you claim at item D3
  • the work-related portion of the following costs
    • interest on money borrowed to buy a computer
    • repair costs for the computer
    • the decline in value of the computer (you may need to make a balancing adjustment if you no longer own or use the computer and you previously claimed a deduction for its decline in value; for more information, see Guide to depreciating assets 2021)
    • internet access charges
    • phone calls
    • phone rental if you can show you were on call or were regularly required to phone your employer or clients while away from your workplace
    • the decline in value of your home office furniture and fittings
    • home office heating, cooling, lighting and cleaning costs.

Did you have any other work-related expenses?


Go to question D6 Low-value pool deduction 2021, or return to main menu Individual tax return instructions 2021.


Read on.

Answering this question

You may need some of the following:

  • your income statement or PAYG payment summary – individual non-business
  • your income statement or PAYG payment summary – foreign employment
  • statements from your bank, building society or credit union
  • receipts, invoices or written evidence from your supplier or association
  • other written evidence.

If your total claim for all work-related expenses exceeds $300, you must have written evidence. For more information about what is written evidence, see Keeping your tax records.

If you received assessable income from your work as an employee outside Australia that is shown on an income statement or a PAYG payment summary – foreign employment, you must claim any work-related expenses you incurred in earning that income at this item provided you have not already claimed the expense at another item.

If you received assessable foreign employment income that is not shown on an income statement or a PAYG payment summary – foreign employment you must claim your deductions against that income at item 20 Foreign source income and foreign assets or property 2021.

Home office expenses

For your home office expenses, you can choose to use one of the three methods below for a period that gives you the best outcome as long as you meet the working criteria and record keeping requirements:

  • shortcut method – 80 cents per hour (temporary due to COVID-19) – this rate covers all additional running expenses, phone, internet and the decline in value of office furniture fittings and equipment
  • fixed rate method – 52 cents per hour for additional running expenses and decline in value of office furniture and fittings plus separate calculation of work-related phone and internet expenses and the decline in value of office equipment
  • actual cost method.

To work out your deduction, you can use the Home office expenses calculatorsThis link opens in a new window.

To work out the method that gives you the best deduction outcome for your situation, see Examples – comparing methods.

Shortcut method

Claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for each hour you worked from home. Anyone who worked from home can use this shortcut method. The shortcut method can be used by multiple people working from home in the same house.

You can choose to use this rate if you:

  • worked from home to fulfil your employment duties and not just carrying out minimal tasks such as occasionally checking emails or taking calls
  • incurred additional deductible running expenses as a result of working from home.

The shortcut method covers all your work from home expenses such as:

  • phone expenses
  • internet expenses
  • the decline in value of equipment and furniture
  • electricity and gas for heating, cooling and lighting.

If you use this method, you can't claim any other expenses for working from home during this period.

You don't need to have a dedicated work area to use this method.

You must keep a record of the number of hours you have worked from home. This could be a timesheet, roster, a diary or documents that set out the hours you worked from home.

Fixed rate method

Claim all of these:

  • a rate of 52 cents per work hour for heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the decline in value of office furniture
  • the work-related portion of your actual costs of phone and internet expenses, computer consumables, stationery
  • the work-related portion of the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.

To learn more, visit Fixed rate method.

Actual cost method

Claim the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which you need to calculate on a reasonable basis.

To learn more, visit Actual cost method.

See also:

You can't claim

You can't claim a deduction for:

  • the cost of entertainment, fines and penalties
  • private expenses, such as child care expenses and fees paid to social clubs
  • coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may otherwise have provided you with at work
  • costs related to children and their education including setting them up for online learning, teaching them at home or buying equipment such as iPads and desks
  • the decline in value of items primarily for use in your employment if the item was provided to you by your employer, or some or all of the cost of the item was paid or reimbursed by your employer, and the benefit was exempt from fringe benefits tax. Items include laptops, portable printers, personal digital assistants, calculators, mobile phones, computer software, protective clothing, briefcases and tools of trade.

Generally, you can't claim a deduction for occupancy expenses such as rent, rates, mortgage interest and insurance.

Completing your tax return

Step 1

Add up all the expenses that you can claim at this item.

To work out the amount you can claim for depreciating assets, see Guide to depreciating assets 2021.

Step 2

Write the total amount at E item D5.

See also:

Where to go next