Case V68

ET Perrignon SM

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Decision date: 3 May 1988.

E.T. Perrignon (Senior Member)

The applicant claimed a deduction for money spent by him on certain items of clothing as being expenditure incurred in earning his assessable income during the year of income ended 30 June 1985. The total expenditure on those items was $526. Of that sum $362 was allowed. The balance of $164 was disallowed. This was for the purchase of a shirt, belt and shoes. The purchase was made for the purpose of being worn by the applicant at wedding ceremonies celebrated by him as the local registrar of marriages. According to the applicant, the purchases were made because of the large number of weddings being celebrated by him. He felt that it was no longer possible to utilise clothing which could also be worn by him in carrying out his other duties as a clerk of petty sessions in the Department of the Attorney-General.

ATC 509

2. The clothing in question was of a high quality appropriate for weddings. Such occasions were special events for which the parties and their attendants might well have spent considerable sums of money in dressing and outfitting themselves. The clothing purchased was used by the applicant specifically for the purpose of performing wedding ceremonies. It was not used by him for any other purpose or on any other occasion. The marriage ceremonies in question were celebrated mostly on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at venues such as wedding reception areas, public halls, licensed restaurants and private homes. The clothing was of higher quality than that worn by the applicant either as a private person or in the performance of his normal weekday duties as clerk of the Local Court. For his work in conducting wedding ceremonies he was paid by the Department in a manner similar to the payment of overtime.

3. The applicant did not appear at the hearing but forwarded written submissions, amongst which was a submission that there were peculiar or unavoidable conditions directly attributable to the activities in question which required expenditure on these particular items of clothing over and above the expenditure on clothing which was required for the performance of his other duties as a clerk of petty sessions or for ordinary wear.

4. Section 51(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 provides, so far as is material, that all outgoings to the extent to which they are incurred in gaining or producing assessable income shall be allowable deductions except to the extent to which they are outgoings of a capital, private or domestic nature.

5. Upon the facts which are set out above, and which are not in dispute, the expenditure in question should, in my opinion, be regarded as being of a private nature and within the exception to sec. 51(1). The clothing was of a kind which is frequently worn in everyday life by male persons. It was not a distinctive uniform or part of such a uniform. It was not clothing which the applicant's employer required him to wear. Its wearing was a matter of choice on his part. Furthermore, I do not think that the expenditure had the essential character of an outgoing incurred in gaining or producing the applicant's assessable income:
Lunney v. F.C. of T. (1958) 100 C.L.R. 478 at p. 497.

6. The Tribunal therefore affirms the objection decision under review.

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