One of the most common mistakes taxpayers make in claiming deductions on their tax return are uniform and laundry expenses. You can claim a deduction for the cost you incur to buy and clean your work clothes if it is one of these categories:
- Occupation-specific clothing
- Protective clothing
- Compulsory uniforms
- Non-compulsory uniforms (ie., your employer registers with AusIndustry)
These are the top 5 frequently asked questions when claiming uniform and laundry expenses
1. What is the difference between Protective clothing, Occupation-specific clothing and compulsory uniform?
Protective clothing is clothing and footwear that protects you from specific risks of illness or injury from your work activities or environment. This includes fire-resistant clothing, sun-protection clothing (like sunglasses), non-slip nurse’s shoes, gloves, and steel-capped boots.
Occupation-specific clothing is those that distinctly identify you as a person associated with a particular occupation. Examples include chef’s hat/white jacket, judge’s robe, etc.
A compulsory uniform is a set of clothing that identifies you as an employee of an organisation. This usually means that the company logo is embroidered on the clothing you are wearing.
2. I have to wear a suit for work, can I claim the cost of buying the suit and the dry cleaning expenses for it?
Even though you are expected to wear a suit for work, this clothing could be worn outside of work too, so it is not an expense that can be a deduction. This is one of the most common mistakes that taxpayers make when claiming uniform and laundry expenses on their tax return.
An exception here is if the suit you are wearing has the employer’s logo embroidered to it, you would then be eligible to claim a deduction on the cost of purchasing and cleaning it.
3. Can I claim $300 worth of laundry expenses with no receipt?
The maximum laundry expenses you can claim without receipt is $150. However, you can have total work-related expenses (laundry expenses included) claimed for up to $300 without receipts. Bear in mind that you still need to make sure that the uniform you are cleaning falls into the eligible category before you can claim the laundry expenses for it.
4. My employer reimbursed the cost of purchasing my uniform, but can I claim the cost of cleaning the uniform?
Provided that the uniform falls under the eligible uniform category, you can claim the cost of cleaning the uniform if it is not also reimbursed by your employer. The deduction amount is calculated as below:
- $1 per load if the entire washing load is made up of work-related clothing
- 50c per load if the washing load is partly made up of work-related clothing
5. Can I claim uniform and laundry expenses if I’m self-employed?
The same rules apply for self-employed individuals. If your occupation falls under the eligible category, you can still claim deductions on appropriate uniform and laundry expenses.
Regardless of how much you are claiming, it is always best practice to keep evidence for all your purchases and cleaning receipts. If you are unsure that your occupation falls into the above category, contact us to have a chat.