Unusual things you can claim as tax deductions for EOFY 2021

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Tax time is upon us once again, and we’re all trying to work out how to reduce our tax bill without breaking the law.

Not every tax deduction is the same: some are open to everyone, others to only a select few. Perhaps these unusual tax deductions could be open to you – so let’s take a look at seven of the most unusual things that can be claimed this tax time.


Believe it or not, rehydrating moisturisers and hair conditioners can be tax deducted. But you’ll have to be cabin crew or a pilot.

They can claim specialised rehydrating treatments used to combat the abnormal drying conditions of working in a pressurised aircraft.

Sorry to everyone else – pressure at work isn’t the same as a pressurised working environment, so rehydrating treatments aren’t deductible for you.

RELATED: Aussies could get $2600 back in tax

Sun protection

For jobs where work takes place outdoors, sun protection including sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are legitimate tax deductions. This applies to jobs like gardeners, roadworkers, builders, couriers and even journalists who work out in the community.

However, if you use them for both work and pleasure, you can only claim the work-related portion. Use your common sense here too: claiming Gucci sunglasses or a fascinator for the races will ring alarm bells at the tax office.

Hair and make-up

While it’s important to look professional at work, personal grooming (eg nail polish, make-up or a haircut) are NOT deductible – unless you are a performing artist, and even then, only in limited circumstances. These may be hairdressing costs for an actor to maintain a particular hairstyle needed for character continuity, or stage make-up for performers, musicians and dancers.

And it must have been for paid work – amateur theatre won’t cut it.

Singing lessons

You don’t have to be the famed fat lady singing to claim a deduction for voice coaching, but you do have to be a professional singer.

This is for classes/lessons taken to maintain specific vocal skills or to obtain a new work-related skill.

RELATED: Is private health insurance tax deductible?


OK, this isn’t unusual – it makes sense that work uniforms are tax deductible. What can be unusual is what that uniform actually looks like (think of the guy on the street corner in a chicken costume drumming up business for a burger joint).

Some companies require staff to purchase their branded uniform, in which case the cost is fully tax deductible. In other instances, particular items of clothing which form an integral part of a uniform can be deducted.

Laundry expenses for cleaning a work uniform may also be claimable.


Many people forget that donations to registered charities are tax deductible.

Given money to support your local member of parliament, desired candidate or favoured political party? That’s deductible too – up to $1500.

The caveat is that it must have been a financial donation only: you can’t make a claim where you received something in return, such as a badge, raffle ticket or hospitality services.

Advisory fees

One deduction open to every Australian – but which few realise – is financial advice fees.

These expenses can be tax deducted for ongoing advisory services relating to income-generating assets, investments and your superannuation. The same goes for accountant fees.

Additionally, you can also claim certain types of insurance, including professional indemnity and income protection.

Tips for claiming work-related tax deductions

• Keep receipts as proof of your expenses. Photos of receipts or the ATO’s myDeductions app can help you overcome the problem of receipts fading over time.

• Claim the work-related portion of working from home costs, like energy, phone, and internet, as well as mileage for work trips and work-related education expenses – especially this year with many people working from home.

• Remember to claim work-related subscriptions – professional publications, software etc – and depreciation for home office furniture, laptops etc.

• Don’t double-dip by claiming a deduction for things your employer has or will reimburse you for.

• If you’re part of a couple, make donations in the name of the partner who will get the most tax benefit from it. Even if that’s not in your name, you’re still doing a good deed while also minimising your family’s tax bill.

Helen Baker is a licenced Australian financial adviser and author of two books: On Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence and On Your Own Two Feet Divorce – Your Survive and Thrive Financial Guide.

Note this is general advice only and you should seek advice specific to your circumstances.


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