Maximum Tax Back Checklist

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Is Your Expense Tax Deductible? Save Tax With This Checklist. 

  1. Admission fees: For lawyers and other professionals. Disallowed as capital cost. No
  2. Airport lounge membership: Deductions to the extent used for work-related purposes. Yes
  3. Annual practising certificate: Applies to professional persons and other contractors who must pay an annual fee to practice in their chosen field. Yes
  4. Bank charges: Deductions are allowed if account earns interest. Not private transaction fees. Yes
  5. Briefcase: If used for work and/or business purposes the cost is fully deductible if $300 or less.
    If more than $300, it must be depreciated. Yes
  6. Calculators and electronic organisers: If used for work and/or business purposes the cost is
    fully deductible if $300 or less. If more than $300, it must be depreciated. Yes
  7. Car: See Travel.
  8. Child care fees: No
  9. Cleaning: Of protective clothing and uniforms. Yes
  10. Clothing, uniforms and footwear Yes
    – Compulsory uniform: Uniform must be unique and particular to an organisation (eg
    corporate uniform).
    – Non-compulsory uniform: If on a register kept by the Department of Industry, Science
    and Tourism.
    – Occupational specific: The clothing identifies a particular trade, vocation or profession
    (eg chefs and nurses).
    – Protective: Must be used to protect the person or their conventional clothing. May
    include sunscreen.
  11. Club membership fees: No
  12. Coaching classes: Allowed to performing artists to maintain existing skills or obtain related
    skills. Yes
  13. Computers and software: Software is deductible if it costs less than $300, otherwise deductible
    over 2.5 years. Except in-house developed software which is over five years (four years before
    1 July 2015) Yes
  14. Conferences, seminars and training courses: Allowed if designed to maintain or increase
    employee’s knowledge, skills or ability. Yes
  15. Conventional clothing: No
  16. Depreciation: Tools, equipment, and plant used for work purposes for each item costing more
    than $300. Items costing $300 or less are deductible outright in the year of acquisition. Yes
  17. Driver’s licence: Cost of acquiring and renewing. No
  18. Dry cleaning: Allowed if the cost of the clothing is also deductible. Yes
  19. First Aid course: Provided it is directly related to employment or business activities. Yes
  20. Gaming licence: Hospitality and gaming industry. Yes
  21. Gifts of $2 or more: If made to approved “deductible gift recipient” body or fund. See for a full list. Gifts to clients are deductible if employees can demonstrate a direct
    connection with earning assessable income. Yes
  22. Glasses and goggles: Protective only. Yes
  23. HELP/HECS repayments: No
  24. Home office expenses: Deductible only to the extent that home or study is used for income producing purposes. Utility expenses (for example, heat, light, power and depreciation on depreciating assets). Occupancy expenses: For example, rent, insurance, rates and land tax. Yes
    (But remember the “Shortcut method” can be used).
  25. Income continuance insurance: Allowed only if the proceeds are assessable. Yes
  26. Insurance – sickness or accident: When benefits would be assessable income. Yes
  27. Interest: Allowed if money borrowed for work-related purposes or to finance income earning
    assets. Interest paid on underpayment of tax (eg general interest charge) is deductible. Yes
  28. Fines and administrative penalties are not deductible. Interest on capital protected loans
    deductible except for non-deductible capital protection component.
  29. Internet and computer equipment: Expenses allowed to the extent incurred in deriving
    individual’s work-related income, carrying on a business or earning investment income (eg
    share investing). Yes
  30. Laundry and maintenance: Allowed if the cost of clothing is allowable (see Work related
    clothing). Reasonable claims of laundry expenses up to $150 do not need to be substantiated. Yes
  31. Legal expenses: Renewal of existing employment contract. Yes
  32. Meals
    –  Eaten during normal working day. No
    – Meals acquired when travelling overnight for work-related purpose. Yes
    – Meals when travelling (not overnight). No
    – Overtime meals: If allowance received under award. Yes
  33. Motor vehicle expenses: See Travel expenses.
  34. Newspapers: Claims may be allowed in limited cases if the publication is directly related to
    income-producing activities. No
  35. Parking fees and tolls: Includes bridge and road tolls (but not fines) paid while travelling for
    work-related purposes. Yes
  36. Photographs (performing arts – with income producing purpose)
    – Cost of maintaining portfolio. Yes
    – Cost of preparing portfolio. No
  37. Practising certificate: Applies to professional employees. Yes
  38. Prepaid expenditure for tax shelter arrangements: They must be spread over the period in
    which the services are provided. Yes
  39. Prepaid expenses: Non-business individuals and SBE taxpayers claim is fully deductible if
    services are to be performed in period not exceeding 12 months. All other taxpayers must
    apportion claim over the period of service. Yes
  40. Professional association and membership fees: Maximum of $42 if no longer gaining
    assessable income from that profession. Up front joining fees are generally capital in nature so
    would not be deductible under s8-1. Annual deductions may also be available in the same year
    under s8-1 where the criteria are satisfied – s25-55. Yes
  41. Professional library (books, CDs, videos etc) Established library (depreciation allowed) Yes
    – New books: Full claim if cost $300 or less (includes a set if total cost is $300 or less). Yes
    – New books: Depreciation if cost over $300 (includes a set if total cost is more than $300). Yes
  42. Protective equipment: Includes harnesses, goggles, safety glasses, breathing masks, helmets,
    boots. Claims for sunscreens, sunglasses and wet weather gear allowed if used to provide
    protection from natural environment. Yes
  43. Removal and relocation costs If paid by the employer, may be exempt from FBT, but
    deductible. No
  44. Repairs (income producing property/or work-related equipment). Yes
  45. Self-education costs: Claims for fees, books, travel (see below) and equipment etc allowed if
    there is a direct connection between the course and the person’s income earning activities. No
    claim for the first $250 if course is undertaken at school or other educational institution and
    the course confers a qualification. However, that first $250 can be offset against private
    expenses, eg travel, child minding fees, etc. Yes
  46. Seminars Including conference and training courses if sufficiently connected to work activities. Yes
  47. Stationery (diaries, log books etc.) Yes
  48. Subscriptions. Publications If a direct connection between publication and income earned by
    taxpayer. Yes
  49. Sun protection. Claims for sunglasses, hats and sunscreen allowed for taxpayers who work
    outside. Yes
  50. Superannuation contributions: From 1 July 2017 the requirement that you derive less than
    10% of your income from employment sources has been abolished and regardless of your
    employment arrangement you may be able to claim a tax deduction. Those aged 65 to 74 will
    still need to meet the work test in order to be eligible to make a contribution and claim a tax
    deduction. The Government has announced that, from 1 July 2020, it will allow voluntary
    superannuation contributions to be made by individuals aged 65 and 66 without having to
    meet the work test. No deduction is available for interest on borrowed monies used to finance
    deductible personal superannuation contributions. Yes
  51. Supreme Court library fees Applies to barristers and solicitors if paid on annual basis. Yes
  52. Tax agent fees (deduction can be claimed in the income year the expense is incurred). Yes
    – Travel and accommodation expenses if for travel to a tax agent or other recognised tax
    adviser to obtain tax advice, have returns prepared, be present at audit or object
    against an assessment.
    – Cost of other incidentals if incurred in having tax return prepared, lodging an objection
    or appeal or defending an audit.
  53. Technical and professional publications: Yes
  54. Telephones and other telecommunications equipment (including mobiles, pagers and
    beepers.) Cost of telephone calls (related to work purposes). Yes
  55. Rental charges (if “on call” or required to use on regular basis). Yes
  56. Tools (work related only) If cost is $300 or less. Yes
    If cost more than $300, the amount would be depreciable, and the amount deductible equals
    to the decline in value). Yes
  57. Trauma insurance. If benefits capital in nature. No
  58. Travel expenses. Including public transport, motor vehicles and motor cycles, fares,
    accommodation, meals and incidentals.
    – Travel between home and work. No
    – Where employee has no usual place of employment (eg travelling salesperson). Yes
    – If “on call”. No
    – If actually working before leaving home (eg doctor giving instructions over phone from
    home. Note that this applies in limited circumstances only). Yes
    – Must transport bulky equipment (eg builder with bulky tools). Yes
    – Travel from home (which is a place of business) to usual place of employment. No
    – Travel from home to alternate work place (for work-related purposes) and return to
    normal work place (or directly home). Yes
    – Travel between normal work place and alternate place of employment (or place of
    business) and return (or directly home). Yes
    – Travel between two work places. Yes
    – Travel in course of employment: Note substantiation rules. Yes
    – Travel accompanied by relative (may be allowed if relative is also performing work related duties). No
  59. Union and professional association fees: Yes
  60. Vaccinations: No
  61. Watch: Unless job specific such as a nurse’s job watch. No

Have a question about your tax return or tax deductions? Contact us on 03 7022 6838 or send us a message.


This checklist contains a general list of general and specific employment-related deductions and
should be used as a guide only. The results may vary depending on individual circumstances. The
individual should also have the relevant written evidence where required. Also, how much of the
expense is allowable as a tax deduction will depend on the extent the expenses are incurred in
earning the person’s assessable income.

Disclaimer: All information provided in this blog is of a general nature only and is not intended to represent specific personal financial, investment, accounting or taxation advice. It does not take into account your particular objectives and circumstances. No person should act on the basis of this information without first obtaining and following the advice of a suitably qualified professional advisor. To the fullest extent permitted by law, no person involved in producing, distributing, or providing the information in this blog (Including WDS Business Group) will be liable in any way for any loss or damage suffered by any person through the use of or access to this information.