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  • Common expenses P–S

    Details on claiming common doctor, specialist or other medical professional expenses for:

    Parking fees and tolls

    You can't claim a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of work. You also can't claim a deduction for tolls you incur for trips between your home and work. These are a private expense.

    You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips.

    Example: parking expenses you can't claim

    Nerida is an employee physiotherapist in a hospital and pays $50 per week for on-site staff parking.

    Nerida can't claim a deduction for parking at her regular place of work.

    End of example


    Example: parking expenses you can't claim

    Yasmin is an employee practicing psychologist. She travels from her regular workplace to deliver a presentation at a local university. She pays to park at the university.

    Yasmin can claim a deduction for the parking expense as she incurs the expenses on a work-related trip.

    End of example

    Protective items

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective items, equipment and products – for example, safety glasses, helmets and personal protective equipment such as face masks or sanitiser. You must use these items:

    • to protect you from the real and likely risk of injury or illness in your work environment or while performing your work duties – for example, working in close proximity to clients while working
    • in direct connection to earning your employment income.

    You can also claim the costs you incur to repair, replace or clean protective items.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer:

    • supplies the protective items
    • pays for the protective items
    • reimburses you for the costs you incur to buy protective items.

    Phone, data and internet expenses

    You can claim a deduction for phone, data and internet costs for the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.

    If your phone, data and internet use for work is incidental and you're not claiming more than $50 in total, you do not need to keep records.

    If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill where you can identify your work-related phone calls and data use.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer:

    • provides you with a phone for work and pays for your usage
    • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

    You can’t claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while travelling for work. This is because these are personal phone calls.

    Example: calculating phone expenses

    Sebastian uses his mobile phone for work purposes. He is on a set plan of $49 each month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

    He receives an itemised account from his phone provider each month that includes details of his individual phone calls.

    At least once a year, Sebastian prints his account and highlights the work-related phone calls he made. He makes notes on his account for the first month about who he is phoning for work, such as his manager and his patients.

    Of the 300 phone calls he has made in a four-week period, Sebastian works out that 90 (30%) of the individual phone call expenses billed to him are for work. He applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

    Sebastian works out his claim for phone calls for work purposes as follows:

    Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls

    90 ÷ 300 = 30%

    Sebastian can claim 30% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes:

    $49 × 30% = $14.70

    Since Sebastian was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), he calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

    10.6 months × $14.70 = $155.82

    End of example


    Example: work and private use

    Sylvette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and manage her appointments. Sylvette also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes.

    Sylvette's internet use diary showed 20% of her internet time was for work-related activities and 80% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200 she can claim:

    $1,200 × 20% = $240 as work-related internet use.

    If there was anyone else that accesses the internet connection, Sylvette must reduce her claim to account for their use.

    End of example

    Professional indemnity insurance

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of professional indemnity insurance that relates to your work activities.

    Removal and relocation expenses

    You can’t claim a deduction for the cost to transfer or relocate to a new work location. This is the case whether the move is a condition of your existing job or you are taking up a new job.

    Repairs to tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes, you can only claim the work-related use.

    Self-education and study expenses

    You can claim a deduction for self-education and study expenses if it directly relates to your employment as a doctor, specialist or other medical professional and it:

    • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
    • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment.

    You can’t claim a deduction if the self-education or study course:

    • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
    • only relates in a general way to your current employment
    • enables you to get employment or change employment.

    If your self-education and study expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets (for example, a laptop or a computer) which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

    You can't claim a deduction for repayments you make on your study and training support loans. Study and training support loans include:

    • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
    • VET Student Loans (VETSL)
    • Trade Support Loan Program (TSL)
    • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
    • Student Start-up Loan (SSL)

    While course fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

    If you have set aside a home office to do your study, you may also be able to claim work from home running expenses, but not occupancy expenses.

    You generally can't claim a deduction for the first $250 of expenses for self-education.

    Example: study directly relevant to employment

    Dennis is a general practitioner who participates in continuing professional development to maintain his medical registrations.

    Dennis can claim a deduction for these expenses as the continual professional development improves and maintains his skills and knowledge in his current role.

    End of example


    Example: study to improve knowledge and skills in current job

    Nadia is a dentist undertaking postgraduate study in dental surgery.

    Nadia can claim a deduction for her study expenses because her study is improving her dentistry skills. It is relevant to her current employment.

    End of example


    Example: study to upgrade qualifications

    Joe is a general practitioner in a rural area of Australia. Joe undertakes training in mental health disorders with a specialised focus on rural and remote Australia. The training will improve Joe's skills in educating his patients about mental health.

    Joe can claim self-education expenses because his study will upgrade his qualifications and will improve his skills in his work activities as a general practitioner.

    End of example


    Example: can't claim due to limited use in current role

    Yui is a psychologist working part-time for a private practice while studying to become a paramedic. The study will primarily provide skills for a new position, which means she will have to seek new employment.

    Yui can’t claim her self-education expenses because her specialised study has only limited use in her current work and therefore lacks sufficient connection to the duties performed.

    End of example

    Seminars, conferences and training courses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a doctor, specialist or other medical professional.

    The costs you can claim include fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

    You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

    Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course, for example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion of your expenses.

    Example: conference where dominant purpose is work-related

    Mary, an orthodontist, attends an 8-day work-related conference in Vancouver on modern cosmetic dentistry. One day of the conference involves a sight-seeing tour of the city, and a networking game of golf. A dinner is held on the final afternoon of the conference.

    As her main purpose in attending the conference is work-related, Mary can deduct the total cost of the conference which includes her airfares, accommodation and meals.

    End of example


    Example: course not related to employment

    James is a chiropractor. He has been struggling to keep up with his work commitments and becomes stressed. James decides to undertake a time and stress management course.

    James can't claim a deduction as the course doesn't directly relate to maintaining or increasing his knowledge, capabilities or skills needed in his current position.

    End of example

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

      Last modified: 15 Aug 2022QC 56091