Can I Claim my Clothing for Work?
Work Related Clothing/Uniform, Laundry and Dry Cleaning Expenses
An individual tax return allows an employee to claim the cost of purchasing and repairing certain work related uniforms, occupation specific and protective clothing. Additionally, the cost of cleaning (including dry cleaning), drying and ironing eligible work clothes can also be claimed. The following points explain the criteria for deductions of the different categories of work related clothing:
A compulsory uniform is a unique set of clothing that is designed and worn to identify an individual as an employee of an organisation e.g. police uniform. In order for the compulsory uniform to be an allowable deduction, the uniform must be distinctive (e.g. having the employers logo) to your organisation, not accessible to the public and your organisation must have a policy enforced that requires you to wear the uniform while at work. However, the cost of buying plain uniforms or clothes such as black pants, is not an allowable deduction even though your employer may require you to wear them.
A uniform is classified as non-compulsory if your employer allows you to choose the clothing that you wear to work. Therefore, any expenses relating to a non-compulsory uniform is not an allowable deduction unless your employer has registered the design with AusIndustry.
Occupation Specific Clothing
Expenses relating to occupation specific clothing are deductible. However, to classify as ‘occupation specific’ clothing, the clothing must not be common, specific to your occupation only and allows the public to clearly identify the occupation (e.g. a nurse’s uniform).
Protective clothing that is worn to protect yourself from the risk of illness or injury in the workplace is an allowable deduction. Items that are considered as protective clothing may include fire-resistant clothing, sun protection clothing, high visibility safety vests, steel-capped boots, overalls, aprons etc. The cost of protective equipment such as hard hats and safety glasses can also be claimed. However, the cost of ordinary clothes that protect you such as normal, closed shoes are not eligible for a deduction.
Laundry and Dry Cleaning Expenses
If you have purchased any of the above eligible work clothes, you are then entitled to claim a deduction in regards to washing, drying and ironing work related clothes as laundry expenses. If you are claiming laundry expenses of up to $150 you are not required to have written evidence however, the amount must be calculated on a reasonable basis. The Australian Taxation Office considers that a reasonable basis for estimating laundry expenses is $1 per load for eligible work-related clothing and 50 cents per load if other laundry items are included. Additionally, to claim dry cleaning expenses, you must have work related expenses of at least $300 and written evidence which must be kept for five years.
For more information on what can and can’t be claimed, please feel free to contact us on 02 9411 5422