Who knew you could claim the sunscreen you slathered on during those open air functions last summer? Or the advanced barista course that made you the best coffee artist on the strip? We did – and that’s not all!
Hospitality tax deductions put a big chunk of your hard earned cash back in your wallet – but only if you know what they are and how to claim them.
Whether you’re a waitress, event manager, barista or mixologist, hospitality is not an easy field to work in. Endless nights translating drunk-speak, screaming tantrums over wrong orders. Weeping hens, unruly bucks and impressive family misfunctions. You’ve calmed, counselled, mopped up and smiled through them all, so now it’s time to get a little something for your efforts.
It’s time to get a decent chunk of your hard earned cash back from the ATO. so let’s talk about the most common tax deductions and point out a few common mistakes. We’ll help make sure you get it right.
Was your job affected by COVID over the last few years?
Click below to read our guide about COVID and your tax return
Hospitality tax deductions include expenses from various areas of your job including:
Claim purchase costs, laundering and repair of:
- Uniforms (with logo or if an item forms part of a compulsory uniform)
- Protective clothing (aprons, protective boots)
- Work specific clothing (chef’s pants and hats)
Please note: You can’t claim conventional clothing such as a plain white shirt or black shoes as the wearing of these items is not limited to your workplace.
Tools and equipment
- Purchase costs of equipment used in your job (up to $300) (chef’s knives, cooking utensils, tablet, computers, cocktail mixers, tools etc.)
- Depreciation of equipment costing over $300
- Repair and maintenance costs of work related equipment
- Leasing costs of equipment used in your job
- Interest on loans taken out to purchase work related equipment
If you need to use your own car for work purposes, such as deliveries or picking up equipment from another venue, you can claim your car expenses:
You can claim these in one of two ways:
- Logbook method – Keep a record of work related mileage in a logbook for at least 12 weeks.
- Cents per kilometre method – You can claim 66 cents per kilometre – up to 5000 kilometres per year.
Please note: You can’t claim for your trips to and from work
If you travel to conferences or trade fairs, or are required to travel for training or as part of your job you can claim your out of pocket expenses.
- Taxi, train and bus fares
- Car hire
- Overnight accommodation
- Meals (when staying overnight)
Your employer may give you an allowance to cover the costs of any work related travel you do within Australia. This will be included as income on your Payment Summary at the end of each financial year and you should include this in your tax return. In this case, you don’t need to substantiate your expenses – as long as the amount you claim is deemed a reasonable amount by the ATO.
Home office running expenses
If you need to work from home for part of the time you may be able to claim:
- The cost of using a designated home home office space (power costs for heating, cooling and lighting)
- Home office equipment, such as computers as printers (up to $300)
- Decline in value of plant and equipment (computer, printer, scanner etc.) costing more that $300)
- The decline in value of furniture and furnishings (Tables, chairs, curtains/blinds, floor coverings, light fittings etc.)
- Cost of repairs to furniture and furnishing used for your work
- Cleaning costs
You claim home office running expenses in one of two ways:
- “The amount of actual expense incurred through an established pattern of use.” – In other words keep a diary and records of all expenses and the time and days your used the office space.
- Or at a flat rate of 45 cents per hour
Self-education that is directly related to your current position.
These expenses can include:
- Tuition/tuition fees
- Books and equipment purchased for the study (test books, software etc.)
- Travel costs
- Associated phone and internet fees
- accommodation and meals (if away from home overnight)
Note: You cannot claim self-education expenses if your intention is to get:
- a different job, or
- money from a new income-earning activity (a new job or a business)
Miscellaneous hospitality tax deductions
And then there are all the other tax deductions you can claim that lots of people miss out on.
- Tax agent fees for preparing your prior year’s tax return
- Work related phone calls and the work percentage of phone expenses (excluding connection costs)
- Cost of renewing a gaming license and some other work related licenses/certificates (Check with your tax agent
- Journals and publications relating to your position
- Renewal of union and professional association fees
- Charity donations to registered charities
- Work bags
- Sunglasses and sunscreen – if you are required to work in open air functions
- Income protection insurance
Download a Tax Checklist for Hospitality
To help jog your memory and collect all the right documents and details for tax time, we’ve created a helpful tax checklist that’s personalised for hospitality workers.
Wrap up of hospitality tax deductions
So there you have it, a few common tax deductions for hospitality workers.
To make sure you don’t miss any expenses throughout the year, get in the habit of keeping good records. Photograph receipts before they fade too, using the Etax app. You can upload receipts at any time so they’re all ready for your next return. Be sure to read our post on record keeping and see below for some other good tips.
Any questions? Just get in touch – we’re always happy to help :)