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30 April 2018

ATO Focus on Work-Related Expenses

ATO Focus on Work-Related Expenses

This year the ATO is paying close attention to the work-related deductions included on individual tax returns. 

Before you include claims for work-related expenses you need to make sure they meet the below requirements:

  • You must have incurred the expense yourself – this means you must have spent the money yourself and were not reimbursed by your employer for the cost
  • The expense must be incurred in gaining or producing assessable income – this means it must be directly related to your employment income. If the expense was for something which can be used for work and private use, only the work-related portion of the cost can be deducted
  • You must be able to substantiate the expense – this means you must keep appropriate records to support all deductions for up to five years from the date of lodgement of the tax return in which it was claimed. Receipts, invoices and diary notes are examples of appropriate record keeping.

The ATO cross checks individuals’ deduction details against other tax payers in similar roles and with comparable income levels. It uses this information to see if an individual’s deductions are ‘substantially higher’ than the average for their income and occupation.

The ATO offers an app, myDeductions, to assist with recording work-related expenses throughout the financial year, or alternatively you can download a spreadsheet to record your expenses here.

If you have any questions about what is deductible on individual tax returns please contact our office.


Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Liability is limited in those States where a current scheme applies.  


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