Jun 06, 2023

What can care workers claim at tax time?

You can do your own tax return via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website or consult with a tax agent who can do it for you. [Source: Shutterstock]

June 30, or ‘tax time’, is coming up and you may have work-related purchases from this financial year that you want to claim. 

Throughout the year, care workers often invest in their job by accessing further education to up-skill and usually outlay for other work-related expenses such as internet costs or petrol to get to and from each client’s location.

Sometimes it isn’t always clear what you can and can’t claim back – especially if you lodge it yourself via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website without a tax agent. 

Do you know what you can and can’t claim as a care worker? Read on to find out.

Claiming deductions

Like most industries, care workers can claim any money they spent during the financial year on products or services that are directly related to their job and earning their income.

In order for your claim to be successful, you need to have spent the money yourself and it can’t have been already reimbursed by your employer. For example, if the organisation hosts or pays for you to attend a training course, that is not a tax deduction.

You also need to have proof of purchase of the item or service, such as a receipt or invoice, in case you need to prove your claim during an ATO audit. It is wise to keep these filed physically or electronically so you can reach for them at any time.

Car expenses

As some care workers attend multiple locations in one day, car expenses such as parking costs, tolls and travel costs can be claimed. In limited circumstances, you can claim the cost of trips between home and work where you have shifting places of employment, meaning you don’t have a fixed workplace and continually travel from one work site to another during your workday.

You can claim the cost of using a car you own when you drive:

  • Directly between separate jobs on the same day
  • To and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day

If you claim car expenses, you can use the logbook method or the cents per kilometre method to calculate your deductions.

If you use the logbook method, you need to keep a valid logbook to work out the percentage of work-related use along with written evidence of your car expenses.

If you use the cents per kilometre method, you need to be able to show how you calculated your work-related kilometres and be able to show that those kilometres were work-related.

If you claim work-related car expenses using one of the above methods, you can’t claim any further deductions in the same tax return for the same car. For example, petrol, servicing, and insurance costs.


If you have bought, repaired and cleaned any work clothes that are either part of your uniform or distinctive to your company (such as a shirt with your organisation’s logo on it) can be claimed.

While some organisations supply uniforms, other items such as non-slip shoes or protective sunwear for taking clients outside may be something you have paid for upfront.

Any clothing or items that have protective benefits such as a face mask, lab coat, apron or gloves can also be claimed. 

You can claim purchase and laundry costs for:

  • Clothing with your company’s logo permanently attached
  • Specific clothing to your job
  • Protective clothing 
  • Aprons

Education and training

While working in aged care, many education and training opportunities can arise to further your qualifications and ability to care. 

Attending any courses, training or seminars designed to help you up-skill can also be claimed. This includes the cost of a first aid training course if you’re a designated first aid person and need the training to assist in emergency work situations.

Other deductions

There may be other miscellaneous items or services you have purchased throughout the financial year that you can get reimbursed for.

These things include:

  • Any commissions or fees paid to an aged care employment agency including upfront, joining or search fees
  • Union fees
  • Subscription fees for any aged care industry-specific magazines or journals
  • Phone and internet expenses for any work-related usage on your personal phone or device, provided they are not already covered by your employer
  • Equipment or tools specifically required for your work such as teaching aids, music or entertainment items for lifestyle coordination or a laptop (which can be depreciated if it costs over $300)


What can’t I claim?  

There are several key expenses you can’t claim, including:  

  • If you work at a facility, you can’t claim any costs incurred when travelling between your home and your workplace
  • Regular clothing worn to your workplace that could also be worn outside of work 
  • The cost of any meals or snacks consumed during a work day
  • Any grooming costs, even if it’s a requirement of your job to be well presented

What records do I need to keep?  

Keeping all your receipts is vital to ensure you can claim what you are eligible for at tax time. 

You don’t need to keep the physical receipt anymore – it’s acceptable to keep a digital copy, such as a photo of it or an email receipt, that can be read.

Your proof of purchase needs to have:  

  • The name of where you bought it from
  • The amount of the item or service
  • The date you bought it
  • The date of the document (for digital copies)  

You also don’t need to keep receipts for expenses under $10 (as long as these don’t cumulatively come to more than $200). 

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