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Claiming a Tax Deduction on Work Clothing

Tax deduction for work clothing

Do you have to wear a specific uniform to work like a suit, uniform with your company’s logo or perhaps clothes purchased from a store you work in?

Whatever the case, you have to conform to your employers dress policy. Many believe you can claim on any clothing item your employer expects you to wear.. it is not actually that simple.

Let’s find out more …


You can claim a deduction for:

  • the cost of buying and cleaning
    • specific clothing for your occupation
    • unique/protective clothing (i.e. not everyday wear)
    • clothing that allows the public to easily recognise your occupation – such as hi-vis w/ logo emblazoned, chef pants…
    • distinctive uniforms
    • clothing and footwear that you wear to protect yourself from the risk of illness or injury posed by your job or the environment in which you work. To be considered protective, the items must provide a sufficient degree of protection against that risk, and might include:
  • fire-resistant and sun-protection clothing (including sunglasses)
  • hi-vis vests
  • non-slip nurse’s shoes
  • rubber boots for a concreter
  • steel-capped boots, gloves, overalls, and heavy-duty shirts and trousers
  • overalls, smocks and aprons you wear to avoid damage or soiling to your ordinary clothes whilst at work.


If an item of clothing is not specific for your work place and may be considered ‘everyday’. Such as black trousers and a white shirt for a bartender/waitress or a suit for an office worker. You will not be able to claim the cost of purchasing or cleaning these.

If you work in a clothing store, you also can’t claim the cost of clothing you purchased in that store, even if you’re required to wear it to work. This is because these items of clothing are not specific to your occupation (you could also wear them outside work, on a Saturday night out for instance).

Ordinary clothes (such as jeans, shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, closed shoes) are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work. To take the example of closed shoes, you may seek to argue that such shoes provide a level of protection for your feet from work-place hazards but unless that protection is something specific, over-and-above a general level of foot protection, you’re not going to be able to claim a deduction. E.g. flat shoes in an office – NO. Steel cap boots in a construction site – YES.


Compulsory work uniform

A compulsory uniform is considered clothing with is distinctive to your workplace and is easily identifiable to where you work and you MUST wear this. The cost of such a uniform is deductible.

You may be able to claim a deduction for shoes, socks and stockings where they are an essential part of a distinctive compulsory uniform and where their characteristics (colour, style and type) are specified in your employer’s uniform policy (as is sometimes the case with air stewardesses and nurses for instance).

You may be able to claim for a single item of distinctive clothing, such as a jumper, if it’s compulsory for you to wear it at work.

Non-compulsory work uniform

You can claim for a non-compulsory uniform provided it is unique and distinctive to the organisation you work for.

Clothing is unique if it has been designed and made only for your employer. Clothing is distinctive if it has your employer’s logo permanently attached and the clothing is not available to the public.

You can’t claim the cost of purchasing or cleaning a plain uniform (for example, a generic white shirt and pair of black trousers, as worn by many wait staff).

Non-compulsory work uniforms must usually have a design registered with AusIndustry to be tax deductible.

Shoes, socks and stockings can never form part of a non-compulsory work uniform, and neither can a single item such as a jumper.

Cleaning of work clothing

You can claim the costs of washing, drying and ironing eligible work clothes, or having them dry-cleaned.

If you are confused or still unsure about what you are eligible to claim. Give us a call and speak to one of our tax specialist. We will have all your questions answered. Phone us on 49336888

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Bottrell Group
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