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Hospitality Workers Tax Tips

Like many industries, hospitality too can invite many ‘iffy’ scenarios where you could easily overclaim or simply forget what is a deduction and what is not. The ATO’s definitions constantly evolve and simply applying what worked last year is not a prudent nor pragmatic approach to your back pocket or your legal responsibilities when submitting your tax.

The first rule about tax is this: You can only claim a deduction if the expense you have incurred is directly related to the income you’ve earned. You must also have spent the money yourself, without reimbursement from your employer, and have a tangible and clear record to prove it. 

More specifically with hospitality (but not limited to) are some of the other scenarios you should consider:

Clothing & Laundry Expenses (including Footwear)

You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, repairing, or cleaning clothing if it is considered:

  • Protective clothing that has protective features or functions which you wear to protect yourself from specific risks of injury or illness at work;
  • Compulsory uniform clothing you are required to wear by a workplace agreement or policy, which is strictly and consistently enforced and is sufficiently distinctive to your organisation;
  • Occupation‑specific clothing that distinctively identifies you as a person associated with a particular occupation;
  • Non‑compulsory uniforms that are registered with AusIndustry.

Important: Conventional ‘everyday’ type clothing you wear for work, even if your employer requires you to wear it, is not eligible.

Car Expenses

You can claim the cost of using a car:

  • When you drive directly between separate jobs on the same day;
  • To and from a different workplace for the same employer on the same day.

Important: You cannot claim the cost of trips between home and work. Also, if you claim car expenses, you can use the logbook method or the cents/km method to calculate your deduction.

Self-Education and Study Expenses

You can claim self‑education and study expenses if your course relates directly to your employment as a hospitality worker and it:

  • Sustains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties;
  • Results in, or is likely to result in, an increase in income from your current employment.

Important: You cannot claim a deduction if your study is only related in a general way or is designed to help get you a new job.

Tools and equipment expenses

You can claim the cost of:

  • Tools or equipment you use for work only (like knives, aprons etc);
  • Insurance and repairs for your tools and equipment;
  • If a tool or equipment costs more than $300 you claim a deduction for the cost over a number of years (decline in value). If the cost is $300 or less (and doesn’t form part of a set that costs more than $300) you can claim an immediate deduction for the whole cost.

Important: You cannot claim tools and equipment that are supplied by your employer or another person.

Other Expenses

You can claim the work‑related portion of other expenses that relate to your employment, including:

  • Union and professional association fees;
  • Renewing your responsible service of alcohol certificate or gaming;
  • Personal protective equipment you buy, such as gloves, face masks, sanitiser or antibacterial spray, if your job requires close proximity with customers.

Important: You cannot claim private expenses such as music subscriptions, childcare, fines, flu shots and other vaccinations, even if you’re required to have them for work. 

In summary, the above is only a snapshot of the hospitality industry and what workers need to understand. If you’re like many of our clients with multiple jobs and/or complicated scenarios, why don’t you consider using a tax professional to simplify your tax and maximise your return? It’s never too late! Contact ITP Qld today on 1300 555 773 or try our popular LiveChat to see what the professionals can do for you.