Tax deductions for chefs and cooks really boost your tax refund – but do you know what you can claim on your tax return?
Most of us have a love affair with food, so the fabulous people who create the dishes in our favourite cafes and restaurants become our absolute heroes.
So what can we do for all of you chefs and cooks who provide the rest of us with such joy?
Well to start with, we can help you buy that divine white truffle or much longed for Wusthof knife set. How? By making sure your tax refund is as jam packed with tax deductions as it can be.
Look no further, culinary geniuses, we’ve got you covered:
Exploring tax deductions for chefs and cooks
Every year, many chefs and cooks pay far too much tax. Work-related purchases and costs throughout the year can be claimed on your tax return. Unfortunately, the reality is that many items get skipped or forgotten. It’s easy to do – and very common with chefs and cooks due to busy schedules and erratic hours.
Let’s start with the most common tax deductions
You can’t cook anything without good cooking equipment, and good equipment in the kitchen never comes cheap. Many chefs buy their own gear to makes sure they’re not just making do with what’s supplied. If you do, make sure you don’t forget to claim every purchase, on your return. Even small costs add up over the course of the year:
- Knives and sharpeners
- General hand held cooking utensils (eg. Spatulas, wooden spoons etc.)
- Graters, slicers and mandolins
- Electrical appliances (eg. Sous-vide cookers, food processors etc.)
- Saucepans and steamers
- Cooking dishes
- Baking trays and tins
- Piping equipment
- Crockery and glassware
- Chopping boards
Remember: You can only claim a tax deduction for cooking equipment if the equipment was not supplied or reimbursed by your employer and you have proof of purchase. The item must also be an essential piece of equipment for your actual work, not just an item you wanted because you liked it.
Protective items and work specific clothing
These are essential for all chefs and cooks, and often purchased numerous times in a year, so remember to include them all on your tax return
- Compulsory uniforms with café/restaurant logo
- Checked chef’s pants
- Black or white chef’s jackets
- Chef’s hats
- Non slip/steel cap shoes,
- Hair nets
Even a 3 star Michelin chef is unlikely to simply sit down and say, “I’m perfect, there is nothing more for me to learn how to cook!” That day would, without doubt, be the beginning of the end for them.
If you have ambition in the kitchen, you need to keep your career and your skills moving forward.
This can be expensive but the good news is, lots of self-education expenses for work-related courses are tax deductible.
Please note: training courses need to be directly related to your current role. For instance, if you’re a dessert chef you could claim the expenses for a course in cake decorating but not for a course in preparing seafood.
The self-education expenses you may be able to claim include:
- course/tuition fees
- travel expenses
- equipment costs
- computer and phone costs
- stationery and textbooks
- academic journals
- student services and amenities fees
- and more…
Download a Tax Checklist for Chefs and Cooks
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 chefs and cooks.
To find out more about education expenses read our blog on self-education tax deductions:
General tax deductions
You may also be able to claim other tax deductions, such as license fees, car expenses, travel costs, work bags and tax agent fees. Read more about general tax deductions in our blog:
Good record keeping in itself can really help you stay on top of your receipts and expense records throughout the year. Our blog on record keeping habits outlines a few easy ways to never miss a tax deduction again:
Not sure about something?
If you’ve got any other questions about tax deductions for chefs and cooks or you’re not sure if you can or can’t claim an expense, just get in touch, any time at [email protected]. Our accountants are always happy to help.
Alternatively, if you find you need help mid way through your tax return, no problem, simply send us a secure message or leave your question in the ‘Any other questions‘ area at the bottom of your return. Your accountant will read your message and get in touch with the answer, or amend your return before your tax return in lodged.
Etax really do make tax easy! :)