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Allowable deductions for work related clothing expenses by the ATO

When it comes to the clothing you wear for work, it's important to note that not everything qualifies for deductions. The items need to possess distinct qualities that set them apart from regular attire. Find out what clothing is eligible for a deduction.

The following categories are eligible for deductions:

1. Protective clothing (not every day wear)

2. Occupation-Identifying Clothing (e.g., checked chef trousers)

3. Recognizable Uniforms

4. Clothing and Footwear for Health and Safety (against job-related risks or environmental factors)

Protective clothing includes items like fire-resistant gear, sun-protection clothing, high-visibility vests, and non-slip shoes for nurses, rubber boots for concreters, steel-capped boots, gloves, overalls, heavy-duty shirts, and trousers. Additionally, clothing like overalls, smocks, lab coats, and aprons used to safeguard ordinary clothing while at work can also be claimed.

Clothing deductions that are not eligible

Deductions can only be claimed for attire specific to a particular occupation, which can't reasonably be worn outside the workplace. This means:

1. You cannot claim the cost of purchasing or cleaning clothing like bartender's black and white trousers or business suits, unless they're part of a compulsory or non-compulsory uniform. These items are suitable for normal wear.

2. Clothing purchased from the workplace (e.g., a clothing store) cannot be claimed, even if it's required for work. These items of clothing are not specific to your occupation (you could also wear them outside work).

Everyday clothes, such as jeans, shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, and regular closed shoes, do not qualify as "protective clothing" unless they possess specialised protective qualities tailored to the risks of the job. For instance, while closed-in shoes provide some level of foot protection, they must offer a distinct and specific form of protection beyond what regular closed shoes provide. This same principle applies to runners, even if you're on your feet all day or work as a personal trainer.

Deducting the cost of work uniforms

Compulsory Work Uniform:

This refers to uniforms that identify you as an employee of an organization. To claim a deduction, the uniform must be compulsory to wear at work and enforced by a strict uniform policy. This applies to occupations like police officers, nurses, military personnel, airline staff, and supermarket employees. In some cases, essential items like shoes, socks, and stockings can also be claimed if they're part of the compulsory uniform. The colour, style and type must be specified in your employee’s uniform policy as is the case with air stewardesses and nurses.

Non-Compulsory Work Uniform:

You might be able to claim a deduction for a non-compulsory uniform if it's unique and distinctive to your workplace. For clothing to be considered unique, it must be exclusively designed and made for your employer. Distinctive clothing should have the employer's logo permanently attached and not be available for public purchase. However, plain, logo-free uniforms and single items like jumpers generally aren't deductible. Non-compulsory work uniforms often require a registered design with AusIndustry for tax deductibility.

Understanding what work-related clothing expenses are deductible can help you accurately claim deductions on your tax returns.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your Client Manager or one of the team at Sullivan Dewing.

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