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  • Common expenses G–O

    Details on claiming common doctor, specialist or other medical professional 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 as a doctor, specialist or medical professional. Protective glasses include anti-glare or photochromatic glasses, sunglasses, safety glasses or goggles.

    Grooming expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for hairdressing, cosmetics, hair and skin care products, even though:

    • you may receive an allowance for grooming
    • your employer expects you to be well groomed when at work.

    All grooming expenses and products are private 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, anti-bacterial scrubs)
    • 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. However, you will still need to be able to show how you work out your claim. This isn't an automatic deduction.

    Example: work clothing laundered and maintained by employer

    Nathan's employer requires him to wear scrubs when consulting the hospital surgeon on the treatment of his patients. The hospital provides the scrubs to Nathan. He leaves them in the dirty scrubs hamper when he changes back into his own clothes to leave the hospital.

    Nathan can't claim a deduction for laundry expenses as he doesn't incur any costs to buy, maintain or clean the scrubs.

    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).

    Medical equipment

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of medical equipment and the cost of insurance for that equipment. For example, you can claim a deduction for the cost of stethoscopes and scales if they cost $300 or less.

    For items of medical equipment that cost more than $300, you can claim a deduction for the decline in value of the item over its effective life.

    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
    • how you work out your claim.

    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?
    • TD 2022/10 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2022–23 income year?

    For more doctor, specialist or other medical professionals' expenses, see:

      Last modified: 15 Aug 2022QC 56091