Tax deductions for retail staff: Retail employees like store managers, sale assistants, suppliers, and buyers often wonder what tax deductions they can claim on their annual tax return.

Many people get a smaller tax refund than they should because they forget about claimable items they have paid for. If you work in retail, there are several tax deductions you might be eligible to claim.

Here is a list of the most common tax deductions for people working in the retail industry. Remember that most workers cannot claim every item on this list, and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) may ask you to provide evidence of the deductions you claim.

Tax Deductions For Retail Staff: General Work-Related Costs

  • Mobile phones – if you make or receive work-related calls on your personal mobile phone
  • Internet costs – if you use your internet at home for work-related purposes
  • Tablets and laptops – if you send emails, manage rosters, or do stock orders on your personal laptop or tablet
  • Car expenses – if you use your car to travel between shop locations (note that travel from home to work is not claimable)
  • Stationery – items such as diaries, pens, pencils, and logbooks
  • Union or membership fees
  • Work bag
  • Books, catalogues, or magazines related to your position

Clothing and Protective Equipment

  • Purchase and repair of uniforms with a company logo
  • Laundry or dry-cleaning costs of uniforms with a company logo
  • Protective equipment including aprons, head/hair protection, gloves, sunscreen and sunglasses (for outdoor work), and protective shoes or boots

Remember, if you claim uniform costs, the item must be a required item for your job with the employer’s logo or be protective in nature. General work clothes, even if purchased from your place of work, are not claimable.

Tax Deductions For Retail Staff: Travel, Meals, and Accommodation

  • Meal costs when working overtime or away from your home city, such as overnight trips
  • Accommodation costs and incidental expenses when working or training away from home
  • Work-related travel and car expenses for meetings, training, stock pickup, or travel between stores (excluding travel from home to work unless carrying heavy equipment)


  • Fees for work-related short courses or university courses
  • Training-related expenses including internet, travel, phone calls, accommodation and meals for overnight stays, tools and equipment for the course, and books or manuals

General Tax Deductions

  • Tax agent fees
  • Interest paid on investment accounts
  • Income protection insurance payments
  • Charity donations to registered Deductible Gift Recipients

Tax Deductions For Retail Staff: Items Not Claimable as Tax Deductions

Be careful not to claim items you are not entitled to, as the ATO enforces penalties for false or exaggerated deductions. Consult your accountant if unsure about a particular item.

  1. Travel costs to and from your place of work (unless transporting heavy equipment and no workplace storage provided)
  2. Purchase, laundering, or repair costs of general work clothes or footwear, even if from your workplace (items must have a company logo or be protective)
  3. Costs of training courses not directly related to your current job
  4. Expenses not paid out of pocket or reimbursed by your employer