Taxation Determination

TD 94/48

Income tax: what types of protective clothing and footwear are shearers entitled to deduct as work related expenses under subsection 51(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 ?

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FOI status:

may be releasedFOI number: I 1217468

1. Shearers are entitled to deductions only for those items of clothing and footwear which protect against the hazards of their occupation. Those items are designed specifically for the occupation.

2. Protective clothing is clothing specifically designed to protect:

the taxpayer from personal work injury (e.g. steel cap boots or safety helmets); or
the taxpayer's conventional clothing from the hazard of his/her work environment (e.g. overalls or apron, when appropriate for the occupation).

3. Examples of protective clothing and footwear for shearers would include:

Shearers'Jeans or Dungarees: jeans which have a double thickness of material over the front and lower back leg. They are made from a special nylon/cotton mixture which helps repel the lanolin and grease from the fleece so as to protect against infections.
Shearers' Singlets: singlets with leather patches under the arms where the sheep are held during shearing, again to protect against infection from lanolin and grease.
Shearers' boots: boots with lacing across the front and/or a flap to prevent wool clippings getting inside the boot.
Shearers'Moccasins: a specialty item which has a non-slip coating on the sole to prevent slipping on grease in the shearing sheds.

4. The clothing is specially made to repel the lanolin and grease from the fleeces as the grease can frequently cause skin irritations such as infections and skin rashes. Such clothing is therefore protecting the shearers from personal work injury and is specific and unique to the occupation.

5. Section 51AL discusses clothing which is non-compulsory, however as the clothing is protective in nature, it is not excluded from deductibility by section 51AL(4): non-compulsory uniform/wardrobe.

Examples: A shearer has claimed for singlets and jeans worn for work purposes. Examination of the receipts provided by the taxpayer shows that the clothing was not designed specifically for shearers. Further enquiries showed that the special detailing required to make the clothing protective (double thickness of special material for the jeans, and no leather patching under the arms) has not been done. Therefore the claim is not an allowable deduction as the clothing is not protective but conventional in nature.A shearer claims singlets, protective footwear and trousers worn at work. Examination of the receipts show that the purchases were made for 'shearers' jeans', singlets and moccasins. Enquiries to the retailer reveal that the items are similar to the examples of protective clothing described in paragraph 3 above. These claims are allowable deductions. The items are specifically designed for the occupation and are protective in nature.

Commissioner of Taxation

Previously issued as Draft TD 94/D11


ATO references:
NO UMG 0057

ISSN 1038 - 8982

Related Rulings/Determinations:

TD 92/157
TD 93/121

Subject References:
protective clothing
work related expenses

Legislative References:
ITAA 51(1)

TD 94/48 history
  Date: Version: Change:
You are here 2 June 1994 Original ruling  
  28 July 1999 Consolidated ruling Addendum
  11 June 2003 Withdrawn