Most taxpayers want to claim as many deductions as they can in order to pay as little tax as possible. While it is most important to ensure that you are entitled to the specific deduction, what many do not realise is that you can claim a deduction for a work uniform, either compulsory or non-compulsory, that is unique and distinctive to the organisation you work for.

To be a unique and distinctive piece of clothing, the items must have been designed and made only for the employers use, often with the company logo permanently attached and not available to the public. This means that for employees wearing a ‘plain uniform’, the costs of purchasing the items of clothing and costs incurred in cleaning the garments are non-deductible.

In the eyes of the ATO, a compulsory work uniform is a set of clothing that identifies you as an employee of an organisation with a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while you are at work.

Where your uniform is compulsory, you may be entitled to claim a deduction for shoes, socks and stockings where they are an essential part of a distinctive compulsory uniform and where their characteristics (i.e. style, type, colour etc.) are specified in your employer’s uniform policy. Further items such as a jumper can be claimable if it is compulsory for you to wear it at work.

Where your uniform is non-compulsory, you are unable to claim expenses incurred for the clothing unless your employer has registered the design with AusIndustry. Where you purchase everyday items such as shoes, socks, stockings and jumpers, these items can never form part of a non-compulsory work uniform and a deduction cannot be claimed.

Further to a uniform, items of protective clothing that you wear to protect yourself from injury or illness in your field of work are deductible. These items often include;
– Fire-resistant and sun-protective clothing
– Safety-coloured vests
– Steel-capped boots, hard hats, gloves, overalls and heavy duty shirts/trousers

Ordinary clothing such as jeans, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks and closed in shoes are not deemed protective and cannot be claimed as a deduction.

Where your items of clothing are eligible work clothes, you can further claim the ongoing costs of washing and dry cleaning the items. Where the costs of these expenses exceeds $150, written evidence is required to substantiate your claim. Where your claim is less than $150, the ATO sets a reasonable basis for your claim to be worked out. If you think you are eligible to claim any deductions for work related clothing items, remember to keep those receipts and send them in with your tax papers and the staff here at CNS Partners will ensure the deduction is claimed if you are entitled to it.