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  • Deductions

    You may be able to claim deductions for your work-related expenses. Work-related expenses are expenses you incur on items used to earn your income as a teacher or education professional.

    To claim a deduction for a work-related expense:

    • you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
    • it must be directly related to earning your income
    • you must have a record to prove it (usually a receipt).

    If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

    You can use the ATO app's myDeductions tool to help keep track of your work-related expenses. It’s an easy way to capture information on-the-go and makes tax time quicker by uploading your deductions to your tax return

    For a summary of common deductions for teachers and education professionals, see Teacher deductions (PDF, 148KB)This link will download a file.

    Or, for a detailed list to help you work out if your expense is deductible, and how much you can claim, see:

    See also:

    Common expenses A–F

    Details on claiming common teacher and education professional expenses for:

    Books, journals and professional library

    You can claim a deduction for the total cost of a publication you purchase (including technical journals and reference books) if:

    • you use the publication mainly for work purposes
    • the publication isn't part of a set you start to hold in that income year where the total set costs more than $300
    • the total cost of the item and any other identical or substantially identical items you start to hold in that income year doesn't exceed $300.

    If you pay for a subscription in advance for more than one year, you must divide the cost equally over the whole subscription period.

    If the cost of each individual item, or the cost of a set of identical or substantially identical items, is more than $300, you can claim the decline in value (depreciation) of your professional library over its effective life.

    Example: claiming depreciation

    Marie is employed as an accounting lecturer. She purchased an accounting book to add to her professional library. As the total cost to be added to her professional library is more than $300, she can't claim a deduction for the full cost of the book. Instead, she must claim depreciation on the book over the effective life of her professional library.

    End of example

     

    Example: claiming depreciation

    Paula is a university lecturer. She bought a series of six English literature books in the same income year costing $65 each. The books are designed so students move on to the next book only when they have successfully completed the previous one. The books are marketed as a set and are designed to be used together.

    Paula can't claim an outright deduction for the full purchase price of any of these books because:

    • each book forms part of a set, which she purchased in the income year
    • the total cost of the set was more than $300.

    Instead, she must claim depreciation on the books over the effective life of her professional library.

    End of example

    See also:

    Car expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the normal trips between your home and work. These are private expenses even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours.

    The limited exception to this is if you must carry bulky tools or equipment between home and work. Then, you can claim a deduction only if:

    • your employer requires you to transport the tools or equipment for work, that is you don't carry them as a matter of personal choice or convenience
    • the tools or equipment are essential to earning your income
    • there's no secure area for storing them at your workplace
    • the equipment is bulky – meaning it's heavy and/or cumbersome.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of using your car when you are travelling for work. For example, when you:

    • drive between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling to a separate job
    • drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, if you regularly work at many places each day before returning home.
    • transporting students – for example, to a sporting venue

    The Work-related car expenses calculator helps calculate the amount you can claim as a deduction for car expenses.

    You must keep records of your car use. If you drive a car you can choose between the cents per kilometre method or the logbook method to calculate your deduction. If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a logbook to help you determine the percentage of work-related use of your car. If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to provide a calculation of your work-related kilometres. You must be able to show that the kilometres travelled were work-related.

    If you own a motorcycle, or a vehicle with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or nine passengers or more you can deduct your actual expenses.

    Example: using your car to transport students

    As part of his coaching duties, Jeremy collects several students and transports them from their homes to the sporting field on a Saturday. After the match, he returns the players and continues his journey home.

    Jeremy can claim a deduction because he's transporting students to the sporting venue.

    End of example

     

    Example: transporting equipment

    Kim is a tutor and researcher for a university. She travels between home and work each day, transporting materials she uses at work that can't be stored at the university because they have no secure storage area. These materials are contained in three very large and heavy boxes. Due to their bulky nature, Kim can claim a deduction for the costs she incurs when she transports the materials in her car.

    End of example

     

    Example: choosing to transport bulky equipment

    Ramona takes her student’s books home to mark.  She can’t claim the travel costs for taking the books home because the travel is private travel between her regular place of employment and her home.

    End of example

     

    Example: travelling between two jobs

    April travels directly from the school where she's employed as a teacher to the TAFE college where she gives night lectures. She can claim a deduction for the travel expenses she incurs because she travels directly from one workplace to the other.

    End of example

     

    Example: travelling from work to an alternative workplace that isn't a regular workplace then home

    Wayne travels from his normal school to a regional administrative centre for a meeting. After the meeting, he travels directly home. Wayne can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs because he has travelled to alternative workplaces and then home.

    End of example

     

    Example: travelling from home to an alternative workplace that isn't a regular workplace then to work

    Zareb travels from home to a marking centre to mark exams. He then travels to his normal school. Zareb can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to travel from home to the marking centre and then to his normal school. However, he can't claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to travel directly from his normal place of employment to home.

    End of example

     

    Example: travel between home and work more than once a day

    Amanda finishes work and returns home at the end of the school day. At 6.00pm, she returns to school to hold parent-teacher meetings until 9.00pm. Amanda's after-hours travel between her home and the school is a private expense she can't claim.

    End of example

     

    Example: on call or relief teaching

    Michael is a stand-by relief teacher who works at various schools. He is usually informed of which schools he'll be working at on short notice. The schools are located varying distances from home. Each day, Michael travels to a single school and returns home each night.

    Even though Michael travels from home to the particular school in response to a phone call, his travel is still a private expense which he can't claim.

    End of example

     

    Example: working outside normal business hours

    Kyoko goes to work the week before the school term starts to prepare for her year 12 geography class. Although Kyoko has travelled to work during her holidays, the travel expense she incurs is a private expense she can't claim.

    End of example

    See also:

    Child care

    You can't claim a deduction for child care that you pay for when you're working. It's a private expense.

    Clothing expenses (including footwear)

    You can claim a deduction for the cost you incur when you buy, hire, repair or replace clothing, uniforms and footwear you wear at work if it's:

    • protective
    • occupation specific (and not a conventional, everyday piece of clothing)
    • a uniform.

    To claim a deduction for the cost of a uniform it must be unique, distinctive and compulsory to wear. Clothing in a specific colour or brand isn't enough to classify clothing as a uniform. For example, a shirt with the corporate logo on it that you must wear when you work is a uniform, so you can get a deduction for buying it.

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it. You can't claim for:

    • heavy duty conventional clothing such as jeans, drill shirts and trousers
    • running shoes or casual shoes.

    These are private expenses.

    Example: conventional protection clothing

    Tam buys a school hoodie to wear while supervising students in the playground at lunch time to keep warm. The hoodie cost isn't deductible because it's conventional protection from the natural environment.

    End of example

    See also:

    Excursions, school trips and camps

    You can claim a deduction for costs incurred when taking students on excursions, educational and sporting trips and camps if these trips have an educational benefit related to the curriculum or extracurricular activities of the school. For example, a science teacher accompanying a group of students on a camp to study the ecology of a rainforest.

    Fines

    You can't claim a deduction for any fines you get when you work. Fines may include, parking fines and speeding fines.

    First aid courses

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you, as a designated first aid person, are required to undertake first aid training to assist in emergency work situations.

    Fitness expenses

    You can't claim a deduction for the cost of fitness expenses – these are private expenses, even for a physical education teacher.

    For more teachers and education professionals expenses, see:

      Last modified: 10 Apr 2019QC 22569