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  • Cleaners – income and work-related deductions

    If you earn your income as an employee cleaner, this guide will help you work out what:

    • income and allowances to report
    • you can and can't claim as a work-related deduction
    • records you need to keep.

    Find out about cleaners':

    Income – salary and allowances

    Include all the income you receive during the income year in your tax return, this includes:

    Don't include reimbursements.

    Your income statement or a payment summary will show all your salary, wages and allowances for the income year.

    Salary and wages

    You must include your salary and wages as income in your tax return. Include any bonuses.

    Allowances

    Include all allowances shown on your income statement or payment summary as income in your tax return.

    While all allowances you receive from your employer are income, you can't always claim a deduction if you receive an allowance – it depends on the situation.

    If you can claim a deduction, the amount of the deduction is not usually the same amount as the allowance you have receive.

    Allowance types, reasons and deductibility

    Reason for allowance

    Example of allowance type

    Deduction (Yes or No)

    Compensation for an aspect of your work that is unpleasant, special or dangerous

    Toilet cleaning allowance

    No

    These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses

    Compensation for industry peculiarities

    Cold work allowance

    No

    These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses

    An amount for certain expenses

    Uniform allowance

    Yes

    If you incur deductible expenses

    An amount for special skills

    A first aid certificate

    Yes

    If you incur deductible expenses

    Example: allowance assessable, no deduction

    Janelle works in a meat processing plant as a cleaner. Janelle's employer pays her an additional 55 cents per hour for each hour she spends cleaning an area that is kept at below 0 degrees Celsius.

    At the end of the income year, Janelle's employer shows the total amount of the allowance on her income statement.

    Janelle must include the allowance as income in her tax return.

    Janelle can't claim a deduction because the allowance compensates her for working in certain conditions. It is a payment to cover deductible expenses.

    End of example

     

    Example: allowance assessable, deduction allowable

    Benji works for a commercial cleaning company. Rather than provide each employee with cleaning equipment, Benji's employer provides them with a cleaning equipment allowance. The allowance is $850 and is shown on Benji's income statement at the end of the income year.

    During the 2021–22 income year, Benji's vacuum cleaner breaks down so he buys a new one. The cost of Benji's new vacuum cleaner is $1,200.

    Benji must declare the cleaning equipment allowance of $850 as income in his 2021–22 tax return. Benji can claim a deduction in his 2021–22 tax return for the decline in value of the vacuum cleaner over its effective life.

    Benji uses the depreciation and capital allowances tool to work out his decline in value deduction for the 2021–22 income year.

    End of example

    Difference between allowances and reimbursements

    An allowance doesn't include a reimbursement.

    If your employer pays you:

    • an amount based on an estimate of what you might spend, such as paying cents per kilometre if you use your car for work, then it's an allowance
    • for the actual amount of the expense (either before or after you incur the expense), such as paying for the petrol you use if you use your car for work, it's a reimbursement.

    Allowances not shown on your income statement or payment summary

    Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement or payment summary. This can apply to travel allowances and overtime meal allowances paid under an industrial law, award or agreement. You can see these allowances on your payslips.

    If the allowance isn't on your income statement or payment summary, and you:

    • spent the whole amount on deductible expenses, you    
      • don't include it as income in your tax return
      • can't claim any deductions for these expenses
    • spent more than your allowance, you    
      • include the allowance as income in your tax return
      • can claim a deduction for your expense, if you're eligible.

    Reimbursements

    If your employer pays you the exact amount for expenses you incur (either before or after you incur them), the payment is a reimbursement. We don't consider a reimbursement to be an allowance.

    If your employer reimburses you for expenses you incur:

    • don't include the reimbursement as income in your tax return
    • you can't claim a deduction for the expenses.

    Find out about cleaners':

      Last modified: 16 Aug 2022QC 51218