Common Deductions for Defence Force Members
If you’re not sure what you can claim on your tax return, this information will help you work out what common deductions you can claim as a defence force member.
Common Military Deductions
Work Related Travel
- Kilometers travelled You can claim a deduction for the kilometres of travel from your normal work place to another work place. You can also claim a deduction for the kilometres of travel from the alternate work place back to your normal work place or directly home. A deduction can be claimed for kilometres of travel to and from base for official medical appointments or between bases. Your commute to and from work is generally not an allowable deduction, unless your transporting bulky equipment or tools that are used for work for which cannot be stored at your work place.
- Parking can be claimed as a deduction while travelling in the course of employment, e.g., between bases, travel to doctors’ appointments.
- Tolls can be claimed as a deduction for bridge and road tolls when travelling in the course of employment, e.g., between bases, or medical appointments
- Military uniform. Uniform purchases can be claimed as a deduction. A military uniform includes such items as military white, blue or khaki shirts with rank or other embellishments; standard matching trousers; regulation jumpers and jackets; official mess uniform; hats or caps with rank or other embellishments; PT gear (Army, Navy or Airforce logo) Service Dress shoes; Service handbags and clutch bags; socks and stockings; and camouflage shirts and trousers. However, it does not include items or accessories of a conventional nature, e.g., underwear, ordinary fashion shoes, hair accessories or T-shirts.
- Dry cleaning of military uniforms can be claimed as a deduction.
- Glasses/contact lenses:A deduction cannot be claimed for the cost of buying prescription glasses or contact lenses. The cost of safety glasses can be claimed as a deduction.
- A deduction can be claimed for the cost of safety equipment such as safety glasses, safety boots, goggles, breathing masks, helmets, etc
- Protection from the natural environment. A deduction can be claimed if your work creates conditions that make it necessary for you to provide protection to yourself or clothing eg. Sunglasses, sunscreen, wet weather gear, thermal underwear.
- Cost of Mobile/Telephone. You can claim a deduction for the percentage of work related use of your mobile/telephone bills.
- Internet Costs. You can claim a deduction for the percentage of work related use of your internet bills.
- You cannot claim a deduction if these items are supplied by your employer or your employer reimburses the cost to you.
- Field Equipment. The work related use of field equipment can be claimed as a deduction. Examples of deductable items include Pack, Swag, Sleeping Bag, Webbing, Pouches, Bivvy Bag, Dive Bag, Multi-tool, Compass, Headlamp, Torch, Medkit, Knife, GPS, Hydration pack and accessories, Camping Equipment (no food or personal hygiene items) If the cost of an item exceeds $300 you can claim a deduction for their decline in value.
- Watches:You can claim a deduction for depreciation of the cost of watches with special characteristics used for work-related purposes ie. compass
- Donations and Building fund contributions can be claimed as deductions (does not include purchase of raffle tickets, items such as chocolates and pens, the cost of attending fundraising dinners).
- Compulsory mess fees can be claimed as a deduction for Senior non-commissioned officers and above.
- A deduction cannot be claimed for costs incurred in attending compulsory or non-compulsory mess functions.
- Computer and Software: You can claim a deduction for depreciation on the cost of computers and software, if purchased together, that are used for work-related purposes. If the software is bought separately from the computer, you can claim a deduction in full in the year of purchase. The deduction must be apportioned between work-related and private use
- Conferences, seminars and training courses: You can claim a deduction for the cost of attending conferences, seminars and training courses to maintain or increase your knowledge, skills or ability to perform your duties. There must be a relevant connection with your current work or to the next likely promotion as planned by the ADF
- Home Office Expenses: If you perform some of your work from a home office, you can claim a deduction for the costs you incur in running it. You can’t claim a deduction for occupancy expenses including rent, mortgage interest, council rates and house insurance premiums.
- Self education expenses:You can claim a deduction for the cost of self education if there is a direct connection between the self education and your current income-earning activities. Self education costs can include fees, travel, books and equipment
- Technical or professional publications:You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying or subscribing to journals, periodicals and magazines that have a content specifically related to an ADF member’s work and are not general in nature.
- Union/professional association fees and levies:You can claim a deduction for annual fees paid to unions or professional associations, although you cannot claim for joining fees. A deduction is not generally claimable for levies. You cannot claim a deduction for contributions to staff social clubs or associations.
- Income protection insurance: You can claim the cost of premiums you pay for insurance against the loss of your income.
EXPENSES THAT ARE GENERALLY NOT DEDUCTIBLE
- Expenses for sporting activities: Expenses in participating in sporting activities can’t be claimed as a deduction unless the ADF member is on duty and is either participating as an official ADF representative or is required to participate as part of the ADF member’s normal income earning activities.
- Expenses for maintaining fitness: Expenses to maintain the general standard of fitness expected of an ADF member cannot be claimed as a deduction. A deduction can be claimed for an ADF member who can demonstrate that his or her income-earning activity is the maintenance of a very high level of fitness eg. SF Unit, ADG, CD, PTI or CFL
- Relocation expenses:A deduction cannot be claimed for storage, removal and transportation expenses incurred by ADF members when transferring from one district to another.
- Driver’s licence/ Passport:A deduction cannot be claimed for the cost of acquiring or renewing a driver’s licence or passport.
- Installation or connection costs:A deduction cannot be claimed for the cost of installing or connecting a telephone, mobile phone, pager, beeper, internet or other telecommunications equipment
- Rifles, ammunition, cleaning and related equipment:These items are normally supplied and replaced by the ADF and therefore cannot be claimed as a deduction.
- Grooming:A deduction cannot be claimed for the costs of grooming, including cosmetics, hair and skin care products. A deduction cannot be claimed for the cost of haircuts.
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