TAX BACK | ATO updates guide on work-related tax claims

By Katherine Taylor and Michael Craig

Michael Craig, Rental property deductions

The ATO have recently updated their occupation and industry specific guides in relation to work-related expenses a tax payer is entitled to claim. An individual tax payer must include all income received during the financial year in their tax return, including salary and wage payments and allowances.

To claim a deduction or expenses that relate to their employment:

  • The employee must be out of pocket the expense;
  • It must be directly related to the income derived; and
  • You must have documentation to substantiate your claim.

If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion. Any expenses that your employer has reimbursed you for are not deductible. The ATO have the ability to seek additional information from your employer should they believe you have already been reimbursed for an expense.

In general, an employee is able to claim a deduction for the following out of pocket expenses:

  • Vehicle and travel expenses – includes expenses incurred in the course of performing work duties. This excludes trips between home and work as these are considered to be private travel;
  • Clothing, laundry and dry cleaning expenses – includes the cost of buying and cleaning occupation specific clothing, protective clothing and unique and distinct uniforms;
  • Home office expenses – if you regularly work from home, you may be entitled to deduction for occupancy costs, telephone and internet costs;
  • Self-education expenses – if your self-education course has a direct nexus to your current employment;
  • Tools, equipment and other assets – includes any tools, equipment or other assets purchased to generate further assessable income; and
  • Other general work related deductions – includes any other expenses incurred in generating assessable income. Examples include (but are not limited to) protective eyewear, union fees and costs associated with working with children (for example obtaining a blue card).

Employees can claim their out of pocket work related expenses in the financial year that they are incurred.

The ATO have released guidelines for the following industries outlining occupation specific deductions:

Australian Defense Force members

  • Flying allowance;
  • Uniform maintenance; and
  • Vehicle allowance.

Doctors, specialists or other medical professionals

  • Allowance for work that may be unpleasant or dangerous in nature;
  • In recognition for holding a special skill set – for example a first-aid certificate.


  • Allowance for work that may be unpleasant or dangerous in nature;
  • Allowance for meals for when you are travelling for work related purposes.

Hospitality industry employees

  • Allowance for work that may be unpleasant or dangerous in nature;
  • Allowance for meals for when you are travelling for work related purposes.

For further information in relation to occupation and industry specific deductions, please refer to the ATO website.

Want to know more?

If you have any further questions about work-related expenses that can be claimed please contact Michael Craig, our Business Advisory Associate Director, for assistance.

An Important Message

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents.  Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.



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