As a hospitality worker in Australia, it’s important to understand exactly what you can and cannot claim for on your 2019 tax return this year. In this post, we outline the different types of work-related expenses you can claim for and include on your annual tax return with the ATO.

Income and Work-Related Deductions – Hospitality

In this section, we outline the different allowances and income you will need to report to the ATO if you work in the hospitality sector. We also look at some examples of things you cannot claim for and explain the different records you should be keeping.

Guidance from the ATO for work-related expenses in the hospitality sector are below:

  1. It must be an expense that is directly related to earning your income.
  2. You must have paid for it yourself without any reimbursement.
  3. You must have a record of the expense or be able to provide proof of the expense.

What are the most common deductions for hospitality sector tax returns?

Knowing what you can and cannot claim for when it comes time to complete your 2019 return can really help you maximise the amount of money you get back. In this section, we outline some of the key work-related expenses that people in the hospitality sector will claim for on their tax return each year.

Clothing and Grooming Expenses

If you pay money to buy, hire, clean, or repair your uniform items, then you can claim a deduction for these costs. However, this will only apply if the items of your uniform are specific to your role, such as checked pants for a chef, a chef’s hat, etc. If you wear plain clothing for work, then you may not claim a deduction for this. If you have to pay out for hairdressing or cosmetic products, this is not classified as a deductible for the hospitality sector.

Self-Education Expenses

If you take a training or developmental course that relates to your current position, then you are eligible to claim a deduction for this. If you take a course to help you get a new job, then you cannot claim for this as a tax deduction.

Equipment and Tools Expenses

If there are any tools or pieces of equipment that you need to buy in order to do your job, such as chef knives, for instance, then you may claim a deduction against these costs. If your employer provides these tools, then you cannot make a claim for this.

The following stipulations apply

  • If the item costs $300 or lower than this amount, you may claim a deduction immediately for the whole amount.
  • If the item costs $301 or more than this amount, you may claim a deduction for the cost over a number of years only.

Also, if you need to repair any equipment that is used exclusively for work, then you can claim a dedication to over these cots as well.

Car Expenses

If you need to drive between separate jobs on the same day, or you drive to different places of work for the same employer on the same day, you can claim work-related car expenses for these trips.

Usually, this will not apply to any mileage covered between your home and usual place of work.


  • Your employer has asked you to carry bulky equipment in your car
  • You needed to carry equipment that was essentially to carry out your job
  • There was no secure area to store the equipment at your usual place of work

If you intend to claim any car expenses, you must keep a clear log of any mileage, dates, reasons, etc.

Other Expenses

Outside of the above categories, there are sometimes other expenses that arise for workers in the hospitality sector. Here are some of the most commonly claimed items that fall into this category.

  • Professional or Technical Publications
  • Professional Association or Union Fees
  • Work-Related Mobile Phone Expenses
  • Renewal of A Specialist Employee Licence

As a hospitality worker, you might be subjected to working shifts, including weekend and evening work. As such, keeping track of your expenses can often prove a challenge. The ATO app is a useful and free tool that is designed to help you manage your expenses and keep track of them throughout the year.

If you want to add this to your phone, then use this link to the ATO site to get access to this.