When completing your tax return you may be wondering if your protective clothing, uniforms or laundry are tax deductible.

You can claim expenses for a uniform, whether it is compulsory or not, that is unique and distinctive to your organisation. Clothing is considered unique if it has been designed and made only for your business. It is distinctive if it has your business’s logo permanently attached and the clothing is not available to the public. 

For non-compulsory uniforms, the employer must have it registered with AusIndustry. For compulsory uniforms, it must be clothing that identifies you as an employee of that organisation and it must be strictly enforced that you must wear that uniform, which can include shoes, stockings, socks and jumpers; provided they are an essential part of the compulsory uniform. 

Occupation-specific uniforms are also deductible, for example chef’s pants and nurse’s uniforms. If is often the case that compulsory, occupation-specific uniforms may be provided to the employee. In this case the uniform costs are not deductible to the employee, however they will be able to claim the cost of cleaning and repairing those uniforms. 

Protective clothing and footwear is also deductible and can include steel-capped boots, hi-visibility gear and nurse’s non-slip shoes. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are also considered protective clothing, provided the cost is incurred by the employee and not provided by the employer. 

The deductions do not cover the purchase or cleaning of plain clothes, trousers and shirts purchased from retail stores that do not display an employer’s logo even if the employer requires you to wear them. 

This is general advice only. Speak to your tax agent about your individual circumstances.

Karen Peall is the Executive Manager of Lyons Judge Bundaberg and has more than 20 years’ experience in accounts and taxation.