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  • Common expenses T–W

    Details on claiming common teacher and education professional expenses for:

    Taxi, ride-share, public transport and car hire

    You can claim a deduction for transport costs if you travel in the course of performing your work. For example, taking a taxi from your school to a local pool for the school swimming carnival.

    You can’t claim a deduction for travel expenses between home and work, these are private expenses.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer reimburses you for these expenses.

    Teaching aids

    You can claim a deduction for the cost of teaching aids used for work. Teaching aids you buy must be used as part of your teaching job. If the aid you buy can be used for both work and another purpose you can only deduct the portion used for work.

    Tools and equipment

    You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment if you use them to perform your duties as a teacher or education professional.

    You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the item.

    If the tool or equipment cost you $300 or less, you can claim a deduction for the full amount in the year you buy it, if:

    • you use it mainly for work purposes
    • it's not part of a set that together cost more than $300.

    You can claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (that is, decline in value), if the tool or equipment:

    • cost more than $300
    • is part of a set that together cost more than $300.

    If you bought the tool or item of equipment part way through the year, you can only claim a deduction for the decline in value for the period of the income year that you own it.

    You can also claim a deduction for the cost of repairs to tools and equipment that you use for work purposes.

    You can’t claim a deduction for tools and equipment that your employer or a third-party supplies for use.

    Example: bag for transporting student papers, reports and laptop

    Maria is a primary school teacher. Her job requires her to write quarterly reports for each student, take home student papers and projects for marking and develop lesson plans aligned to the curriculum.

    She frequently works from home to complete these tasks. She buys a bag for $565 that she uses to carry her student papers, and reports and the school provided laptop. She carries her cash and cards, personal phone and other personal items in a smaller clutch bag.

    Maria can claim a deduction for the decline in value of the bag over its effective life as Maria's:

    • teaching position requires her to transport her student papers and projects and work on them at home
    • bag is suitable to carry all the necessary items and she only uses it for work.
    End of example

    See also:

    Travel expenses

    You can claim a deduction for expenses you incur when your work requires you to both:

    • travel for work
    • sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties.

    Expenses you can claim include your accommodation, meals and expenses which are incidental to the travel (incidentals). For example, when you travel interstate to attend a work-related conference, seminar or training course.

    You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you don't incur any expenses, because:

    • you slept in accommodation your employer provides
    • you eat meals your employer provides
    • your employer or a third party reimburses you for any costs you incur.

    Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn’t automatically mean you can claim to a deduction. In all cases, you must be able to show:

    • you were away overnight
    • you have spent the money
    • the travel directly relates to earning your employment income
    • how you work out your claim.

    If you receive a travel allowance you must include it as assessable income in your tax return unless all of the following apply:

    • the travel allowance is not on your income statement or payment summary
    • the travel allowance doesn't exceed the Commissioner's reasonable amount
    • you spent the whole allowance on deductible accommodation, meal and incidental expenses (if applicable).

    The Commissioner's reasonable amount is set each year. The amount is used to determine whether an exception from keeping written evidence applies for the following expenses which are covered by a travel allowance:

    • accommodation
    • meal
    • incidentals.

    You don’t have to keep written evidence such as receipts if both of the following apply:

    • you receive a travel allowance from your employer for the expenses
    • your deduction is less than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    If you claim a deduction for more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount you need to keep receipts for all expenses, not just for the amount over the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    Even if you are not required to keep written evidence such as receipts, you must be able to explain your claim and show you spent the amounts. For example, show your work diary, that you received and correctly declared your travel allowance and bank statements.

    Example: more than the reasonable allowance

    Melanie is a secondary school teacher in a Victorian country town. She is required by her school to attend a teacher training course in Melbourne for three days.

    Melanie has received a travel allowance covering the cost of meals, accommodation and incidental expenses. Her airfares are paid directly by her employer. The travel allowance is shown on her income statement.

    Melanie paid $220 per night for her accommodation. Melanie eats at the same places each day and spends $25 for breakfast, $20 for lunch and $40 for dinner. Melanie spends $45 on incidentals.

    Melanie can claim a deduction of $305 per day for accommodation and meals and $45 for incidentals while attending the course that is required by the school.

    Melanie can't claim a deduction for the airfares as she has not paid for the cost of the airfares.

    Because Melanie has spent more than the reasonable allowance she must keep a travel diary, her receipts and any other written evidence she receives to support her total claim for meals, accommodation and incidental expenses.

    End of example

     

    Example: less than the reasonable allowance

    Joe is a senior lecturer at a university in Queensland. The university requires Joe to travel to a university in Sydney to provide training for five days. Joe's employer provides him with an accommodation allowance covering accommodation while he is in Sydney. The university paid for Joe's airfares. Joe doesn't receive an allowance for meals or incidental expenses. The travel allowance for accommodation is shown on his income statement.

    Joe paid $245 per night for her accommodation. Joe eats at the same places each day and spends $29 for breakfast, $35 for lunch and $55 for dinner.

    Because Joe has spent less than the reasonable amount on accommodation, he can claim a deduction for the $245 per night that he spends on accommodation and he isn't required to get and keep receipts for the expenses on the meals. However, he does have to keep records and other written evidence to support any deductions he claims for his meals expenses.

    Joe can't claim a deduction for the airfares as he has not paid for the cost of the airfares.

    End of example

    See also:

    • Travel expenses
    • TD 2020/5 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2020-21 income year?

    Union and professional association fees

    You can claim a deduction for union and professional association fees you pay. You can use your income statement as evidence of the amount you pay if it's shown on there.

    See also:

    For more teacher and education professionals' expenses, see:

    Find out about teacher and education professionals':

      Last modified: 18 Feb 2021QC 22569