Building & Trades Industry

March 12, 2013

With many of our clients in the building & trades industry, Gotsis Accounting understands the range of work-related expenses that are often incurred by people working in this industry. The extent to which they are allowable deductions is outlined below.

Clothing, Uniforms and Footwear

  • A deduction is allowable for buying, hiring or replacing clothing, uniforms and footwear if they are occupation specific and not conventional in nature, protective (including wet weather gear if work conditions make it necessary for you to provide protection to you or your clothing), compulsory and meet tax requirements or non-compulsory and entered on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing or approved in writing by the ATO before 1 July 1995. A deduction for the maintenance and laundry of this clothing, uniforms and footwear, whether it be supplied or purchased, is also allowable.
  • You can claim a deduction for the cost of protective equipment including safety glasses, harnesses, goggles, breathing masks, helmets and other such items.

Tools and Equipment
If tools and equipment are used for work-related purposes, you can claim a deduction for depreciation, insurance and repairs. If the tools or equipment cost $300 or less or had an effective life of less than 3 years, the item can be depreciated at a rate of 100%.

Association Fees, Licenses and Certificates
You can claim a deduction for annual union and professional association fees but not for joining fees. A deduction is also allowable for the cost of renewing work-related licences and certificates but not for the initial licence or certificate. While you cannot claim a deduction for the acquistion or renewal of a driver’s licence, you can claim any premium above the standard licence cost if it is needed for work.

Publications and Stationery
As long as they are related to your current income-producing activities, a deduction is allowable for the purchase or subscription to journals, magazines and periodicals. Similarly, stationery such as log books, diaries and the like can be claimed if used for work related purposes.

Courses and Self-Education

Self-education expenses such as fees, books, travel and equipment are allowable if there is a direct link between the education and income-producing activities. In some cases, the first $250 is not an allowable deduction. If you must pay to complete a first aid course because you are the chosen first aid person at your workplace who must undertake first aid to assist in emergency situations, then a deduction is allowable.


A deduction may be allowable for meal expenses if 1) an award overtime meal allowance has been received or 2) if the cost of meals are incurred while travelling for work-related reasons.

Telecommunications Equipment and Related Costs

A deduction for the work related portion of the rental cost or depreciation of the purchase price of mobile phone, land line telephone, pager, beeper and other telecommunications equipment expenses can be claimed.  To obtain a deduction of the rental cost, you need to show that you are “on call” or required to call your employer regularly.  However, the installation and connection costs are not deductible.   A deduction is also allowed for work-related call costs.

Transport, Travel and Other Fees
A deduction is allowable for parking fees if you are required to travel during work, for example, between work sites. Similarly, bridge and road tolls can also be claimed.

Transport expenses for work-related travel can be claimed as an allowable deduction and include fares for public transport and the running costs associated with using motor vehicles, motor cycles, bicycles, etc. If you are travelling interstate to supervise another work site, a deduction is allowable for travel expenses such as fares, meals, accommodation and incidentals

Deductions allowable for transport expenses incurred when travelling is depicted in the diagram below.