Do you have to pay for make up or other personal grooming expenses?
If these purchases are essential for your job, you may be able to claim your money back at tax time.
When we’re in the public eye at work, we all want to feel like we are well presented or reflect the role we are playing. However, the ATO is pretty strict when it comes to claims for personal grooming expenses. The reason for this is that the ATO deems very few professions to actually NEED grooming products or services. They consider cosmetics, grooming and personal care as ‘private’ in nature so not tax deductible.
However, you may be eligible to claim personal grooming expenses as tax deductions IF the ATO does consider them essential for your role.
We’ve put together this tax deductions guide to help you figure out what personal grooming expenses you can and can’t claim on your next tax return.
When can you make a claim?
To claim a personal grooming expense as a work-related tax deduction, you must have:
- spent the money yourself and were not reimbursed by your employer.
- a direct relation between the expense and income-earning activities for your job.
- a receipt or invoice as proof of purchase.
Who can claim personal grooming expenses?
The most common occupations who can claim personal grooming expenses are:
- Cosmetic or make-up artists
- Performing artists
- Flight attendants
- Adult industry workers
Here’s how personal grooming expenses tax deductions work:
Normally, the ATO does not allow tax deductions for personal grooming items like these:
- Hair spray
- Hair conditioners
- Teeth whitening or straightening
However, you CAN claim those items, IF you are:
- Cabin crew. It is generally OK to claim skin moisturisers and hair conditioners to combat the lack of humidity and effects of pressurisation.
- A Cosmetic or Make-up artist and you purchase make-up for use on your clients. You can’t claim if you use the same make-up for personal use.
- Working as a performance artist and need a particular hairstyle for a role you are performing in (not valid for auditions). You can also claim the cost of maintaining a particular style or haircut as part of a costume for continuity purposes.
- Performance artists can also claim the cost of tinted contact lenses or special glasses required for a role. They must be cosmetic and must be for a role you have already attained, not an audition. (You cannot claim a deduction for prescription contacts or glasses as the ATO classifies those as a private expense for a personal medical condition.)
Do I need receipts to claim my expenses?
Yes! Saving receipts is an important habit for two reasons:
- It prevents ATO troubles that could cost you thousands later on.
- It helps you keep track of items that’ll boost your refund every year.
If you work at in an a role where personal grooming products are considered essential work-related equipment you should save your receipts carefully so that you have a treasure-trove of claimable expenses at the end of the year.
Remember, the ATO requires receipts for claimed expenses – and yes, they do check. In fact, the ATO can now examine your bank account records and other sources to check that you are claiming honestly.