Clothing and laundry

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. 

GreenTickYou can claim a deduction for occupation-specific clothing. This means it is specific to your occupation, is not everyday in nature and allows the public to easily recognise your occupation. 

GreenTickYou 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. 

Examples include: 

  • 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. 

GreenTickYou can claim a deduction for a compulsory or noncompulsory uniform that is unique and distinctive to the organisation you work for. 

Clothing is: 

  • 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. 

RedCrossYou 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. 

RedCrossYou can’t claim a deduction for ordinary clothes (such as jeans, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks or closed shoes) as they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work.

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. 

GreenTickYou 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. 

GreenTickYou can claim a deduction for a single item of distinctive clothing, such as a jumper, if it’s compulsory for you to wear it at work. 

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. 

GreenTickYou can only claim expenses incurred for a non‑compulsory work uniform if your employer has registered the design with AusIndustry. 

RedCrossShoes, socks and stockings can never form part of a non‑compulsory work uniform. 

RedCrossYou can’t claim a deduction for a single item of non‑compulsory uniform, such as a jumper. 


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.

Download the full flyer here