There are many professions that require employees to work in the sun for periods of time. With sun exposure one of the key causes of cancer in Australia, sun protection is an absolute necessity for these people. However, sunglasses, sunscreen and protective head gear can end up costing a lot of money. So what can you do?
If you’re one of the thousands of people who spend time under the sun at work, there is some good news. Sun protection tax deductions are a reality!
Sun protection tax deductions
Who can claim them?
If it is necessary for you to regularly work outside or contend with the damaging rays of the sun in some way. You can claim tax deductions for your sun protection costs each year.
Employees who could claim sun protection tax deductions include:
- Pilots and airline staff
- Couriers and delivery people
- Foresters and gamekeepers
- Landscapers and gardeners
- Sports professionals
- Coaches and trainers
- Outdoor recreation staff
And more: just ask your accountant if you’re eligible.
So what can be claimed?
The ATO accepts sun protection tax deductions for sunglasses when a worker is exposed to the sun. In general this exposure to sunlight must be for lengthy or regular periods of time. If you only use sunglasses for a short walk (between two work premises, for example) unfortunately, you won’t be able to claim their cost as a tax deduction. However, if you’re working outside all day at a building site or you’re a pilot contending with the glare of sunlight in the skies every day, you are entitled to claim them.
How much? There is no limit on the cost for your sunglasses, however it’s worth knowing that if they cost more than $300 they are expected to last for longer than 12 months. In which case, you will need to claim the depreciation of the glasses on your tax return over time, rather than the purchase price.
Don’t skimp when it comes to slapping on the sunscreen. You know it makes good sense, regardless. Good news is the cost of these essential lotions and sprays CAN generally be claimed on your tax return too. Just make sure you keep receipts for any purchases.
Sun hats and other headgear designed to protect the wearer from the sun are, again, considered essential items for sun protection for employees working outdoors.
Private and personal use
Because some items can also be used privately there must be a genuine connection between the cost of the sun protection equipment, hat or sunscreen and your income earning activities.
Tip: Keep things simple. Where possible, purchase sun protection items that you use for work separately and keep the receipts with your work related expense records.
Not sure whether you can claim a tax deduction for a work related expense?
Simply log in to your Etax.com.au account and ask your accountant, using My Messages at the top of your return. Alternatively use our new Ask a question feature: