Nurse, midwife or carer
If you’re a nurse, midwife or carer it pays to learn what you can claim at tax time.
Phone and internet expenses
Other common deductible work-related expenses
To claim a deduction for work-related expenses:
- you must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed
- it must be directly related to earning your income
- you must have a record to prove it.
You can use the ATO app myDeductions tool to keep track of your expenses and receipts throughout the year.
You can only claim the work-related part of expenses. You can’t claim a deduction for any part of the expense that relates to personal use.
You can claim a deduction when you:
- drive between separate jobs on the same day – for example, travelling from your job as a carer to a second job as a musician
- drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – for example, driving from your usual clinic to another clinic to work for the same employer.
You generally can’t claim the cost of trips between home and work, even if you live a long way from your usual workplace or have to work outside normal business hours – for example, public holiday shifts.
In limited circumstances you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, where you were required to carry bulky tools or equipment for work and you met all of the following conditions:
- the tools or equipment were essential for you to perform your employment duties and you didn’t carry them merely as a matter of choice
- the tools or equipment were bulky – meaning that because of their size and weight they were awkward to transport and could only be transported conveniently by the use of a motor vehicle
- there was no secure storage for the items at the workplace.
If you claim car expenses, you need to keep a logbook to determine the work-related percentage, or be able to demonstrate to the ATO a reasonable calculation if you use the cents per kilometre method to claim.
Phone and internet expenses
You can claim phone and internet usage if your employer needs you to use your personal devices for work.
You can only claim the work-related portion of the use of your personal device.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, mending or cleaning certain uniforms that are unique and distinctive to your job, or protective clothing, for example, non-slip nursing shoes or support stockings, that your employer requires you to wear.
You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it, and even if you only wear it for work, for example, black pants and a white shirt.
You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your course relates directly to your current job, for example, wound care course.
You can’t claim a deduction if your study is only related in a general way or is designed to help get you a new job, for example, you can’t claim the cost of study to enable you to move from being a carer to being a registered nurse.
As long as the expense relates to your employment, you can claim a deduction for the work-related portion of the cost of:
- union and professional association fees
- agency commissions and agency fees, and annual practising certificate fees
- technical or professional publications.
Nurses, midwives and direct carers – income and work-related deductions
If you earn your income as an employee nurse, midwife or direct carer, this information will help you to work out what:
- income and allowances to report
- you can and can’t claim as a work-related deduction
- records you need to keep.
Income – Salary and Allowances
Your employer will provide either an income statement or a payment summary that shows all your salary, wages and allowances for the financial year.
Include all of the income you received during the financial year in your tax return, regardless of when you earned it, including:
- salary and wages
Don’t include reimbursements.
Salary and wages
You must include your salary and wages as income in your tax return. Include any bonuses.
Include all allowances shown on your income statement or payment summary as income in your tax return.
You may receive an allowance to:
- compensate you for an aspect of your work, for example, carrying out unpleasant or dangerous tasks
- help you to pay for certain expenses such as meals when you’re travelling.
If your employer pays you:
- an amount based on an estimate of what you might spend, such as paying cents per kilometre if you use your car for work, then it’s an allowance
- for the actual amount of the expense (either before or after you incur the expense), such as paying for the petrol you use if you use your car for work, it’s a reimbursement.
Allowances on your income statement or payment summary
You may receive allowances:
- for work that may be unpleasant, special or dangerous
- in recognition of holding special skills, such as a first-aid certificate
- to compensate for industry peculiarities, such as for weekend or holiday shifts.
These payments don’t cover you for expenses you might incur. Include these allowances as income in your tax return.
If you receive an allowance from your employer, you aren’t always entitled to a deduction – it depends on the situation. See Deductions.
Allowances not on your income statement or payment summary
Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement or payment summary. This can apply to travel allowances and overtime meal allowances paid under an industrial law, award or agreement. You can see these allowances on your payslips.
If the allowance isn’t on your income statement or payment summary, and you:
- spent the whole amount on deductible expenses
- don’t include it as income in your tax return
- you can’t claim any deductions for these expenses
- spent more than your allowance
- include the allowance as income in your tax return
- claim a deduction for your expense, if you’re eligible. See Deductions.
If your employer pays you the exact amount for expenses you incur (either before or after you incur them), the payment is a reimbursement. We don’t consider a reimbursement to be an allowance.
If you’re reimbursed for expenses you incur:
- don’t include the reimbursement as income in your tax return
- you can’t claim a deduction for them.
Find out about nurses, midwives and direct carers’:
Published: 3 June 2020