Do you have a job that requires you to work outside as a part of your normal activates? With Perth being the sunniest city in Australia, logging in at 3,200 annual sunny hours, and Melbourne still at a whopping 2,200 annual sunny hours, sun protection is a must.
For those of us who work outdoors, the sun can be quite damaging. The need — and costs — for protective gear, such as sunglasses, sunscreen, protective head gear and clothing can stack up. There is good news! All of these items may be valid tax deductions.
Pro Tax Tip: Sun protection items are valid tax deductions as long as they can be directly linked to your job.
Which Jobs Can Claim?
There are a few key jobs that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will allow these tax deductions for. Employees who can claim sun protection can include:
- Meter readers
- Horticulture workers
- Horse riding and adventure guides
- Outdoor education teachers
- Tour guides
- Builders and other tradespeople
- Vineyard workers
- Marine biologist
- Construction worker
- Commercial fisherman
- Environmental engineer
- Surfing instructor
- Dog walker
Pro Tax Tip: ITP Tax Accountants specialist in finding all tax deductions for every career. If you’re unsure if you can claim sun protection items, a professional will provide the right advice.
What Sun Protection Can Be Claimed As Tax Deductions?
The ATO accepts many sun-protection items as claimable tax deductions.
Glasses, contact lenses and protective glasses
If you wear safety goggles or glasses because your work environment could cause harm to your eyes, or protective sunglasses if your work requires you to work outside and your eyesight is at risk of sun damage, you can claim protective eye wear.
Beware though. You can’t claim as protective eyewear, contact lenses or prescription glasses if you wear them while working or if you have a medical condition. You can only claim these expenses if your eyesight is at real risk or harm or injury from the sun, as well as other workplace conditions.
Protective eyewear includes prescription sunglasses, photochromatic and anti-glare glasses.
There is no limit on the cost of your sunglasses, however you can only claim the full amount for an immediate deduction if your glasses were $300 or less. If the amount is over $300, you’ll need to depreciate the cost over a number of years set by the ATO.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Need a little more protection that glasses can provide? You’ll be happy to note that PPE is a claimable expense.
To claim PPE, you’ll need to be at risk of injury or illness in the course of carrying out your duties. The risk should not be remote or that of negligence and your circumstances should have substantial reason to expect the PPE to be used.
Pro Tax Tip: To claim sun protection, you must be out of pocket for the cost and not reimbursed by your employer, and you must be able to prove the expense – so, keep those receipts!
PPE may include items such as:
- hardhats and helmets
- safety glasses or goggles
- face masks or face shields
- anti-bacterial spray.
During the pandemic, some jobs have required workers to wear PPE to carry out their duties. In this instance, protective clothing can include face masks and /or face shields, gloves, hand sanitisers and anti-bacterial sprays.
If your employment has enforced the requirement of these items to do your job because of your close contact with clients and was not provided by your employer, you can claim these as valid tax deductions.
This will usually be people working in the following industries:
- medical industry (such as doctors, nurses, dentists and allied health workers)
- cleaning industry
- airline industry
- hairdressing and beautician industry
- retail, café and restaurant industry.
Cosmetics and Sunscreen
PPE gear may only go so far to help fully protect you when you work your outside job. Full protection may mean the use of sunscreen. Some creams that function as both a cosmetic and sun protection can generally be treated as sunscreen. If you choose a cream that’s marketed as a cosmetic, it generally can’t be claimed even if it has some sun protection in it.
Sunscreen can be claimed if the exposed areas of your body can be injured or is at risk due to the sun because of your duties, or you work for prolonged times outdoors. Basically if the Department of Health, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates if a product is safe and effective as a sunscreen, or the product is given an Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG ID) number by the TGA it can be claimed. An ARTG ID and an AUST L number on the label will be accepted as sunscreen.
Pro Tax Tip: If you buy a tube of sunscreen and wear it out of work hours, you’ll need to apportion the costs between work use and private use. Those trips to the beach can’t be claimed unfortunately even if you do use the same sunscreen.
Sunhats that provide adequate protection from the sun are claimable as tax deductions, this includes any sort of headgear that provides sun protection as well as protection from illness or risk of injury. When claiming any tax deduction, you’ll need to ensure that the name of the supplier, the amount of the expense, the nature of the good or service, the date of the expense was incurred and the date of the document is stated on your receipts.
A tax accountant will help you weed out every available tax deduction – even ones you might not know of. Call a friendly ITP Tax Accountant on 1800 367 487 and see how we can save money on your tax bill today.