Tax deductions for work clothing

Does your place of work require you to wear certain clothes? For example, a suit, a uniform, or even clothes from the clothing brand you are employed by?

Make sure to get more details on your company’s dress code policy to determine whether you are able to claim any deductions during tax season.

This brief guideline will help you get a better idea of what you can and cannot claim in your tax deductions when it comes to work clothing.

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Claimable work clothing expenses

Some of the costs of buying and cleaning occupation-specific clothing are claimable. 

Examples include protective clothing (such as hi-vis vests, non-slip shoes, apron, gloves and overalls) and clothing that identifies you as a specific occupation (such as a nurse or military personnel). 


Unclaimable work clothing expenses

You cannot claim the costs of clothing that can be worn outside of your workplace. This includes business attire, or generic white or black clothing worn by wait staff or bartenders.

If you work at a clothing store and your employer requires you to wear clothes from that brand, these clothes are also not claimable because they can be worn casually outside of work and are not specific to your occupation.


Differentiations in work clothing claims

Even if your employer requires you to wear a uniform to work, you still need to be aware of the specific definitions of work uniforms before you make your claim.

  • Compulsory work uniforms are defined as uniforms that identify you as an employee of a brand or company. For this to be claimable, the wearing of this uniform must be compulsory and strictly enforced in the company’s dress code policy. Examples of occupations that are likely to be eligible for this claim include police officers, nurses, military staff and airline staff.
  • Non-compulsory work uniforms, on the other hand, are uniforms that are unique and distinctly associated with the brand or company you are employed by. These types of uniforms must have the company’s logo permanently printed or attached to them and not be available for sale to the public. They are also usually required to be registered with AusIndustry in order to be claimable. For example, a plain, logo-free uniform such as those worn by wait staff are not claimable because they are generic and not distinct to the company.
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Dry cleaning of work clothing

Cleaning costs can be tax deductible, but there are steps you need to take first.

You must have records of your washing, drying, ironing, or dry cleaning expenses kept through written diary entries or receipts for the representative period of at least one month if:

  • the amount of your cleaning expenses exceeds $150; and 
  • your total claims for work-related expenses exceeds $300.


If you do your washing and cleaning yourself, the ATO has a method for you to calculate your claims:

  • $1 per load (including washing, drying and ironing) if the load is made up of only work-related clothing.
  • 50 cents per load if the load includes other non-work-related laundry items.


For more information on tax deductions for work-related clothing expenses, please visit the ATO’s website.


Need help?

If you require any assistance regarding your tax returns, feel free to contact us by calling 02 7208 5065 or contact us on our website.

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