It pays to learn what you can claim at tax time
You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying and cleaning: occupation-specific clothing, protective clothing and unique, distinctive uniforms.
You can claim a deduction for protective clothing and footwear you wear to protect yourself from the risk of illness or injury posed by the activities you undertake to earn your income. The clothing must provide a sufficient degree of protection against that risk.
- fire-resistant and sun-protection clothing
- hi-vis safety vests
- non-slip nurse’s shoes
- steel-capped boots
- overalls, smocks and aprons you wear to protect your ordinary clothes from soiling or damage.
- unique if it has been designed and made only for the employer
- distinctive if it has the employer’s logo permanently attached and the clothing is not available to the public.
You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of purchasing or cleaning clothes you bought to wear for work that are not specific to your occupation, such as black trousers and a white shirt, or a suit, even if your employer says this is compulsory.
These items are conventional, not usually a specific type and not sufficiently distinctive or unique to your employer.
A compulsory work uniform is a set of clothing that identifies you as an employee of an organisation with a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while you’re at work.
You can claim a deduction for shoes, socks and stockings where they are an essential part of a distinctive, compulsory uniform, and where their characteristics (colour, style and type) are specified in your employer’s uniform policy.
A non-compulsory uniform is a set of clothing and accessory items (not protective or occupation-specific) that:
- distinctly identifies a particular employer, product or service
- is not compulsory for employees to wear to work.
Download the check list in the full flyer found at bottom of this page for various work clothing situations.
You must have written evidence, such as diary entries (to be kept for a representative period of at least one month) and receipts, for your laundry expenses if both of the following apply:
- The amount of your claim is greater than $150.
- Your total claim for work-related expenses exceeds $300.
If you don’t need to provide written evidence for your laundry expenses, you may use a reasonable basis to work out your claim. If you wash, dry and iron your clothes yourself, we consider that a reasonable basis for working out your laundry (washing, drying and ironing) claim is:
- $1 per load if the load is made up only of work-related clothing
- 50 cents per load if you include other laundry items in the load.
If you receive an allowance from your employer for laundry expenses:
- you can only claim a deduction for the amount you actually spent, not simply the amount of your allowance
- the allowance is assessable income, which you must include on your tax return.