Common expenses G–O
Details on claiming common mining site employee expenses for:
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 only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.
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: deductible laundry expenses for protective clothing
Kostas' employer provides him with protective uniforms that he is required to wear while working on a mine site. These uniforms are part of the workplace health and safety regulations. Therefore, Kostas can claim a deduction for the cost of laundering these uniforms.
Kostas estimates he does 3 mixed item loads of washing per week and worked for 48 weeks of the year.
Kostas calculates his laundry claim as follows:
3 × 48 weeks × $0.50 per load = $72
End of example
Example: deductible laundry expenses
Lynette wears a uniform to work each day which is supplied by her employer. She washes, dries and irons the uniforms as their own load of washing twice a week. Lynette works 48 weeks during the year.
Her claim of $96 for laundry expenses is worked out as follows:
Number of claimable laundry loads per week × number of weeks = total number of claimable laundry loads
Calculated as: 2 × 48 weeks = 96
Total number of claimable laundry loads × reasonable cost per load = total claim amount
Calculated as: 96 × $1 = $96
As Lynette's total claim for laundry expenses is under $150 ($96) she isn't required to have and provide written evidence of her laundry expenses. Although she doesn't require written evidence to prove her claim for laundry, if asked, she will still be required to show how she worked out her claim.
End of example
Example: Non-deductible laundry expenses
Jason buys heavy duty cargo pants that he wears in the office when he isn’t onsite. The pants don't have his employer’s logo or branding on them and aren't part of a compulsory uniform.
Jason can't claim a deduction for the purchase or laundering of the pants as they are conventional clothing and are private in nature.
End of example
Licences, permits and cards
You can’t claim the cost of getting your initial licence, regulatory permit, cards or certificates to get a job. For example, a forklift licence or truck licence.
You can claim a deduction for costs you incur to renew your licence, regulatory permit, card or certificate to perform your work duties. For example, if you need to have a truck licence to get your job, you can’t claim the initial cost of getting it, however you can claim the cost of renewing it during the period you are working.
Example: heavy vehicle permit
Sean drives trucks and heavy vehicles around the mining sites. Sean is required to have a driver's licence, truck licence and heavy vehicle permit to complete his employment duties.
Sean pays for his heavy vehicle permit and truck licence prior to starting his job.
He can't claim a deduction for the licence expenses he incurs to gain employment. However, he can claim the cost of maintaining his heavy vehicle permit and truck licence as it is a requirement for his ongoing employment.
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).
Music streaming services, CDs, audio books or podcasts
You can't claim a deduction for the cost of music streaming services, CDs, audio books, podcasts or devices that you use at work. Even if they're used to keep you motivated or occupied at work, these items aren't essential to earning your income. They are private 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 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 your expenses.
In all cases, you need to be able to show:
- you spent the money
- how you worked out your claim.
Example: overtime meal deduction
Frankie is a general employee in the mines. Frankie calculates he works overtime 20 times throughout the year, after completing his normal 8 hour shift. Each time he receives an overtime meal break and overtime meal allowance of $20 under the award.
During his overtime, Frankie generally buys and eats a meal costing $15. The amount Frankie spends is less than the reasonable amount for the relevant income year. His income statement shows the overtime meal allowances as a separate allowance totalling $400. That is, 20 overtime shifts × $20.
In his tax return, Frankie 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 Frankie spent on his meals is less than the reasonable amount, he doesn't have to keep receipts. However, if asked, Frankie 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 2021/6 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2021-22 income year?
For more mining site employee expenses, see:
- common expenses A–F
- common expenses P–S
- common expenses T–W