If you’re a tradie it pays to learn what you can claim at tax time
You can claim a deduction for expenses incurred as an employee tradie if:
- you spent the money yourself and were not reimbursed
- it was directly related to earning your income
- you have a record to prove it.
- Include all your income on your tax return – including cash!
- Use the ATO app’s myDeductions tool to keep track of your expenses.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of travel while performing your duties. This includes travel between different work locations, including for different employers. Normal trips between home and work are private in nature and can’t be claimed. This applies even if you:
- live a long way from your usual workplace, or
- have to work outside normal business hours (eg weekend shifts).
In limited circumstances, you may be able to claim the cost of trips between home and work, but only if you:
- don’t have a usual workplace and you travel between home and different workplaces for the same employer at least every few days, or
- carry bulky tools or equipment for work (eg an extension ladder) provided:
– your employer requires you to transport the equipment for work
– the equipment is essential to earning your income
– there is no secure area to store the equipment at the work location
– the equipment is bulky – at least 20kg – and difficult to transport.
If you claim car expenses, you must:
- keep a logbook of your work trips, or
- be able to show us your claim is reasonable if you use the cents per kilometre method (for claims up to 5,000 km only).
Your vehicle is not considered to be a car if it is a vehicle with a carrying capacity of:
- one tonne or more, such as a ute or panel van
- nine passengers or more, such as a minivan.
In these circumstances (eg if you use a ute) you can claim the proportion of your vehicle expenses that relate to work – such as fuel, oil, insurance, repairs and servicing, car loan interest, registration and depreciation.
Keep receipts for your actual expenses. You cannot use the cents per kilometre method for these vehicles and must use a logbook to show your work-related use.
If you are required to travel away from home overnight for work, you can claim a deduction for accommodation and meal expenses.
Receiving an allowance from your employer does not automatically entitle you to a deduction. You need to be able to show you were away overnight for work and you spent the money.
You can claim a deduction for:
- the cost of buying, mending and cleaning uniforms that are unique and distinctive to your job (eg a uniform your employer requires you to wear)
- protective clothing your employer requires you to wear (eg hi-vis vests, steel-capped boots and safety glasses).
Tools and equipment expenses
You can claim a deduction for tools or equipment you are required to buy for your job.
If you also use the tools or equipment for private purposes, you can’t claim a deduction for that use. For example, if you have a tool set that you use for private purposes half the time you can only deduct 50% of the cost. If the tools or equipment are supplied by your employer or another person, you can’t claim a deduction. If a tool or item of work equipment you only used for work:
- cost more than $300 – you can claim a deduction for the cost over a number of years
- cost $300 or less – you can claim an immediate deduction for the whole cost.
Other common deductible expenses Other work-related expenses you can claim include:
- protective equipment such as sunscreen, sunhats and sunglasses
- union fees
- phone expenses if you have to make phone calls or send texts for work.
Remember, you can only claim the work-related part of the expense.