Tax Deductions For Workwear & Uniforms?

Do you wear a suit to work? Or perhaps are required to wear a uniform branded with your company's logo? It's important to clarify your employer's dress code requirement policy, so you can confirm how to claim clothes come tax time.  

If you're an Australian taxpayer and you wear specific clothing or uniforms for work, you may be eligible to claim tax deductions. However, it's important to understand the rules and requirements set by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure you make accurate claims. Here's a guide to help you navigate the process:

1. Deductible Clothing: To claim a tax deduction, your work clothing must be considered "uniform" or "protective." Uniforms are clothing items that are unique to your occupation and bear your employer's logo. Protective clothing, on the other hand, includes items designed to protect you from work-related risks, such as safety boots, high-visibility vests, or non-slip shoes.

2. Non-Deductible Clothing: Everyday clothing that is suitable for general wear, even if you wear it to work, is not eligible for tax deductions. This includes items like suits, dress shirts, or standard office attire. The ATO considers these items to be part of your personal wardrobe.

3. Cleaning and Maintenance: If your work clothing requires special cleaning or maintenance, you can claim the costs associated with keeping them in good condition. This includes dry cleaning expenses or repair costs. However, you must keep accurate records, such as receipts, to support your claims.

4. Record-Keeping: To substantiate your claims, it's crucial to maintain detailed records. Keep track of your work-related clothing expenses, including receipts, invoices, and any documentation from your employer specifying the requirements for your clothing. This will help you provide evidence if the ATO requests it.

5. Occupation-Specific Rules: Some occupations have specific rules regarding work clothing deductions. For example, healthcare professionals may be able to claim deductions for items like scrubs or lab coats, while chefs can claim for specialised chef's uniforms. It's important to familiarize yourself with any industry-specific guidelines that may apply to your occupation.

6. Self-Employed Individuals: If you're self-employed, the rules for claiming work clothing deductions may differ slightly. In addition to meeting the criteria mentioned above, you must also demonstrate that the clothing is essential for your business and not suitable for everyday wear.

Remember, it's always advisable to seek professional advice from a tax accountant or consult the ATO website for the most up-to-date information on claiming tax deductions for work clothing in Australia. By understanding the rules and keeping accurate records, you can maximize your eligible deductions and ensure compliance with tax regulations.

Tax FAQs

Are scrubs tax-deductible?The Australian Tax Office states: "You can claim the cost of buying, hiring, repairing or cleaning clothing … that has protective features and functions which you wear to protect you from specific risks of injury or illness at work. For example, non-slip nursing shoes or scrubs."Source: ATO Handout: If you’re a nurse or midwife it pays to learn what you can claimFor more info, visit the ATO website or talk to your accountant.
How do I calculate your estimated deduction?1. Enter your taxable income in the ATO simple tax calculator. 2. Reduce your taxable income by the cost of your scrubs and enter it again 3. Look at the difference in the tax bill. IMPORTANT: To estimate your tax bill and learn more about the method they used for estimation, visit the ATO.