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Tax deductions for retail staff, retail employees like store managers, sale assistants, supplier and buyers often wonder what type of tax deductions they are able to claim on their annual tax return.

A lot of people get a smaller tax refund than what they should, this is due to the fact that they forget about claimable items they have paid for. It is important to know that if you work in the retail industries there are plenty of 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. It is important to remember that most workers cannot claim every item on this list and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) might ask you to provide evidence of the deduction you claim.

Tax Deductions For Retail Staff, General Work-Related Costs

  • Mobile phones – if you make or receive work-related calls on your own 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 computer or tablet device
  • Car Expenses – if you are ever required to use your car to travel between shop locations. It is important to remember travel from home to work is not claimable though
  • Stationary – this includes items such as; dairies, pens, pencils and logbooks
  • Union or Membership fees
  • Work bag
  • Books, catalogues or magazines that relate to your position of employment.

Clothing and Protective Equipment

  • Purchase and repair of uniforms but only if these items have a company logo on them.
  • Laundry or dry-cleaning costs of uniforms that have a company logo on them.
  • Protective equipment which includes; aprons, head/hair protection, gloves, sunscreen and sunglasses (if you work in a job that requires you to work outdoors) and boots of protective shoes.

It is important to remember that if you claim uniform costs, the item must be a required item for your job and have the employer’s logo, or be a protective or safety item. If the item of clothing is, for example, a plain black skirt or pants with no logo, then the ATO does not allow it as a claim on your tax return.

Tax Deductions For Retail Staff, Travel, Meals and Accommodation

  • Meal costs when you are working overtime
  • Meal costs when you are working away from your home city such as an overnight trip.
  • Accommodation costs and incidental costs when working or training away from home.
  • Work related travel and/or car expenses for traveling to meetings, training, to pick up stock or between stores. (Unless you are carrying heavy equipment that cannot be left at work, travel costs between home and work are not deductible).


  • The fees for short courses or university courses directly related to your work
  • Expenses related to training such as; internet, travel cost, phone calls, accommodation and meals if the course requires an overnight stay, tools and equipment needed to undertake the course, books and training manuals.

General Tax Deductions

  • Tax agent fees
  • Interest paid (on investment accounts)
  • Income protection insurance payments
  • Charity donations if the charity is registered as a Deductible Gift Recipient

Tax Deductions For Retail Staff, A Few Things Retail Workers Are Unable to Claim as Tax Deductions

Don’t get caught out claiming items you are not entitled to, because the ATO can come down hard with penalties and repayments for taxpayers who include false or exaggerated deductions on their return. If you’re not sure about a particular item, just ask your accountant.

  1. Don’t claim travel costs to and from your place of work. The only exception to this rule is if you are required to transport heavy equipment or stock and your employer does not provide a place for you to leave it at work.
  2. You can’t claim the purchase, laundering or repair costs of general work clothes or footwear, even if you purchase them from a store where you work.If you are required to wear a certain colour or style, you still can’t claim it. It is important to remember that the clothing must have a company logo or be protective in nature.
  3. Don’t claim the costs of training courses if the course is not directly related to your current pre-existing occupation. For example: if you are a retail assistant but plan to become a manager, you can’t claim a tax deduction for a management course as this is a different role to your current one.
  4. Don’t claim any expense that you did not pay for out of your own pocket or one that your employer reimbursed you for.