If your job requires you to buy make up or other personal grooming expenses, you may be able to claim your money back at tax time.
However, the ATO is strict when it comes to claims for personal grooming expenses. And generally, expenditure on cosmetics such as make up, grooming and personal care is deemed ‘private’ in nature and not tax deductible.
Depending on your profession and work-related use for your purchased cosmetics, you may be eligible to claim personal grooming expenses as tax deductions and increase your tax refund!
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 work in an aircraft cabin. If it is of absolute importance that you maintain a well-groomed image for your employer and this requires you to use skin moisturisers and hair conditioners to combat the lack of humidity and pressurisation.
- You are a Cosmetic or Make-up artist and you purchase the make-up for use on your clients. You can’t claim if you use the same make-up for personal use.
- You work as a performing artist and pay for the cost of a hairstyle which is required 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.
- Performing artists can also claim the cost of tinted contact lenses or special glasses that are 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?
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 an airline (in an in-flight role), in cosmetic or make-up arts, or in the performing arts, 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.