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Compulsory uniforms

A compulsory uniform is a set of clothing that, worn together, identifies you as an employee of an organization, having a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while at work. You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, renting, repairing, and cleaning a compulsory uniform.

You may be able to claim a deduction for shoes, socks, and stockings where they are an essential part of a distinctive compulsory uniform. The characteristics of which—color, style, type—are specified in your employer’s uniform policy. The employer must consistently enforce the uniform policy. 

Single items of compulsory clothing

You may be able to claim for a single item of distinctive clothing, such as a jumper, where you must wear it at work. Generally, clothing is distinctive where it has the employer’s logo permanently attached, and the clothing is not available to the general public. 

Non-compulsory uniform or wardrobe

If your employer encourages you to wear a uniform or corporate wardrobe, but it is not compulsory for you to wear one, you can claim a deduction for the cost of the clothing only if the design of the clothing has been entered on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing of the TCFDA. Taxpayers can obtain details of registered corporate wardrobes either from your employer or from the Department of Industry directly on 03 9268 7944 – NOTE, there is no longer a public register available on the web.

If you wear a non-compulsory uniform or wardrobe, you cannot claim stockings, short socks, or shoes as these items cannot be registered as part of a non-compulsory uniform. Your employer can tell you if your non-compulsory uniform or wardrobe is registered. If your employer requires you to wear a distinctive uniform or wardrobe but does not consistently enforce the wearing of the uniform, the design of the uniform must be registered before you can claim a deduction. 

Occupation specific clothing

You can claim a deduction for the cost of occupation-specific clothing. This is clothing that is specific to your occupation, is not every day in nature, and would allow the public to easily recognize your occupation—for example, a barrister’s robes.

Protective Clothing

You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, replacing, or maintaining protective clothing. This is clothing that protects you from injury at work or protects your everyday clothing from damage. 

Laundry and dry cleaning

If you can claim a deduction for your eligible work clothes as described above, you can also claim a deduction for the cost of cleaning them. You can claim laundry expenses for washing, drying, or ironing, such as work clothes, including laundromat expenses. If your claim for laundry expenses is $150 or less, you do not need written evidence—you may use a reasonable basis to work out your claim.

If you claim a deduction for laundry expenses that is more than $150 and your total claim for work expenses—other than car, meal allowance, award transport allowance, and travel allowance expenses—exceeds $300, you need written evidence for the total claim. You can claim the cost of dry cleaning eligible work clothes as described above if you have kept written evidence to substantiate your claim. You do not need written evidence if your total claim for work expenses is $300 or less. 

Uniform Allowances Received

If you receive an allowance for clothing, uniforms, and or laundry allowance, it should be shown in the Allowance Box on the Annual PAYG Payment Summary.

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