Work-related clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses you can claim
You may be able to claim a deduction for the costs you incur when you buy, rent, repair or clean your work clothing. Deductible work clothing includes:
- Compulsory uniforms or corporate wardrobes. This can be a set of clothing or a single item that identifies you as an employee of an organisation having a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while at work.
- A non-compulsory corporate uniform that your employer has registered with AusIndustry – check with your employer if you are not sure. If you wear a non-compulsory uniform, you cannot claim for stockings, hosiery, socks or shoes as these items cannot be registered as part of a non-compulsory uniform.
- A single item of distinctive clothing such as a jumper, shirt or tie with the employer's logo if it is compulsory for you to wear it.
- Protective clothing and footwear to protect you from the risk of illness or injury, or to prevent damage to your ordinary clothes, caused by your work or work environment. Items may include fire resistant and sun-protection clothing, safety coloured vests, rubber boots and steel-capped boots.
For compulsory uniforms, there must be a strictly enforced policy making it compulsory to wear the clothing at work. Items may include shoes, hosiery, stockings, socks and jumpers where they are an essential part of a distinctive compulsory uniform and the colour, style and type are specified in your employer's policy.
Example 11 – you can claim a deduction for compulsory uniform
Alix is a flight attendant employed by Airline ABC. Her employer has a strict uniform policy. As part of her compulsory uniform, she wears grey-mist stockings and black leather court shoes. Failure by Alix to comply with the airline uniform directive and orders of dress could result in disciplinary action. Neither the grey-mist stockings nor the black leather court shoes are used by Alix other than when she is in uniform.
A deduction is allowable for the cost of Alix's grey-mist stockings and black leather court shoes worn as an integral part of her compulsory uniform specified in the Airline ABC uniform directive.
Example 12 – you can claim a deduction for a second pair of shoes
Sarah is a flight attendant employed by an international airline. Her employer has supplied each flight attendant with a pair of shoes that meets their strict compulsory uniform policy. Sarah found that she needed another pair of shoes and decided to buy herself a second pair. The shoes that Sarah bought meet all of the conditions of the strict compulsory uniform and were the same as the ones provided by the airline in colour, style and type except they were more comfortable.
A deduction is allowable for the cost of the shoes that Sarah bought for herself because they meet the conditions of the strict compulsory uniform policy and she uses them only for work.
Example 13 – you can claim a deduction for a single item of distinctive clothing
Karen is employed as a flight attendant by a regional airline doing routes from Perth to the mining towns in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Her employer provides her with a brown shirt with the company's logo and name printed on the shirt. She is required to wear this shirt at all times when she is at work. The shirt is only worn by employees of the company and is not available for purchase by the general public. Her employer expects Karen to be well presented but does not stipulate what colour or style of clothing or footwear must be worn with the shirt.
Karen's stockings, trousers, skirts and shoes are items of ordinary clothing and do not form part of a uniform. Consequently she would not be entitled to a deduction for their cost or maintenance as it is private expenditure.
Karen would be entitled to a deduction for the laundry and maintenance costs of the shirt supplied by the company that has the company name on it and that she must wear when at work.
If this shirt was not supplied and Karen had to purchase the shirt, she would be entitled to a deduction for its cost as well as the maintenance.
End of example
Laundry and maintenance
A deduction is allowable for the cost of cleaning and maintaining clothing that falls into one or more of the categories of deductible clothing listed above. This applies whether the clothing is purchased by you or supplied by your employer and includes the cost of washing, drying and ironing your work clothing, such as:
- laundromat expenses
- home laundry expenses
- actual dry cleaning costs.
Keeping records of your clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses
You do not need to keep receipts or other written evidence of your claim if the total amount of your laundry expenses is $150 or less, or your total claim for work-related expenses is $300 or less. However, you must be able to show how you worked out your claim.
If you did washing, drying or ironing yourself, you can use a reasonable basis to calculate the amount, such as $1 per load for work-related clothing, or 50 cents per load if other laundry items were included.
If your claim for laundry expenses is more than $150 and your total claim for work-related expenses is more than $300 (not including car, meal allowance, award transport payment allowance and travel allowance expenses), the records you must keep include:
- receipts, or other written evidence of your expenses
- diary entries you make to record
- your small expenses ($10 or less) totalling no more than $200 that you do not have a receipt for
- expenses that you cannot get any kind of evidence for regardless of the amount - for example, a diary record of your laundromat costs.
To claim a deduction for the cost of uniforms, report the amount at D3 - Work-related clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses on your income tax return.
Clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning you cannot claim
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of purchasing or cleaning conventional clothing you wear to work that does not fall into one of the categories above, even if your employer tells you to wear it. This includes:
- clothing you wear for medical reasons, such as support stockings
- conventional clothing that is damaged at work
- everyday footwear such as dress, casual or running shoes
- conventional hair accessories and earrings.
Example 14 - you cannot claim a deduction for ordinary clothing
Burke is a flight attendant employed by Airline XYZ to work in the business class section of the plane. His employer requires him to wear a good quality, dark coloured, tailored business suit, long sleeved single coloured cotton shirt, a tie, black leather shoes and black socks. XYZ considers that Burke should be dressed immaculately at all times as the company's image is of particular importance. In recognition of this requirement, XYZ pays Burke a clothing allowance of $4,000 per annum. Burke expended the allowance purchasing the clothing and footwear prescribed by XYZ. He only wears the clothing and footwear for work purposes.
A deduction is not allowable for the cost of Burke's clothing because it does not constitute as a:
End of example
- compulsory corporate uniform
- non-compulsory corporate uniform registered with AusIndustry.