Started ‎1 July 2020 by
Modified ‎1 July 2020 by

Work-related expenses

These are expenses that you had to pay as part of earning income, for example, laundry and home office expenses. We will continue to update this article during Tax Time 2020 with common questions from the community.

What are the basic rules for deductions?

The three main rules for claiming work-related expenses as a deduction are:

  1. You spent the money yourself (you weren’t reimbursed),
  2. It directly relates to earning income, and
  3. You have records to prove it.


What kind of home office expenses can I claim?

During COVID-19, many employees were required to work from home. We have published an article on about working from home during 2020.

Can I claim a deduction for gloves, face masks, sanitiser, anti-bacterial spray that I used at work due to COVID-19?

You can only claim deductions for these types of items if your work requires physical contact or close proximity with clients during COVID-19. This includes industries like healthcare, retail and hospitality. You also need to have paid for these items yourself and haven't been reimbursed. For more information see buying protective items.

If I get paid a car allowance can I still claim expenses for my work-related travel?

Allowances are additional amounts paid to you (usually under an industrial award) in anticipation of expenses you will incur.

If you've received an allowance for car expenses and kept a logbook demonstrating your business versus personal use, you can claim deductions including:

Check out car allowance and deductions to find out more.

As an employer, can I claim deductions for food and drink expenses for my employees?

Employee meal costs, like lunch during a normal work day, are normally private non-deductible expenses. However, employers may be able to claim a dedcution for expenses (and pay no fringe benefits tax) on the following: 

  • tea, coffee and cakes provided on business premises for your employees and customers,
  • sandwiches, muffins, fruit, pastries and so on consumed during a work meeting or training session on business premises,
  • a light meal and drink consumed on business premises while working, such as pizza, takeaway food and drinks.

Read this guide on fringe benefits tax and entertainment for more information.

Can I claim a deduction on voluntary payments on my study loan?

No. Repayments of loan amounts are not deductible expenses. See Education and study for deductions you can claim for your self-education related expenses. See this thread: HECS voluntary payment + deduction.

I had to buy a laptop or other items for my child due to the school closure. Can I claim this as a deduction?

No, costs relating to your children’s education are personal expenses and not deductible. See this thread: are school laptops tax deductible?

I reduced rent to support my tenants; can I still claim full deductions?

Yes. If your tenants are not meeting their payment obligations under the lease agreement due to COVID-19 and you continue to incur normal expenses on your property, then you can still claim these expenses in your tax return. See thread: Negative gearing for half of the rent during COVID-19

If I donated to a bushfire support fund on Facebook, can I claim a donation?

As long as the organisation receiving the gift is endorsed as a deductible gift recipient (DGR), you can claim a deduction for the donation. For ways to check that the charity or DGR is legitimate, see Donations to assist disaster victims


Can't find the answer to your question here?

You can ask the Community or read more information at Deductions you can claim.

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