The Australian Taxation Office is sceptical about the validity of many of theclaims made for clothing and laundry expenses. Clothes bought to meet a dresscode don’t qualify as uniforms.

Last year, six million people claimed work-related clothing and laundryexpenses totalling almost $1.5 billion.

ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat says it is unlikely that half of alltaxpayers are required to wear uniforms, protective clothing or occupation-specific clothing to earn their income.

Foat says last year half a quarter of all clothing and laundry claims wereexactly at the record-keeping limit of $150.

“While you don’t need receipts for claims up to $150, we can ask how youcalculated your claim. We may even ask your employer if you have a requireduniform,” she says.

“You must have spent the money you are claiming on buying or cleaning eligibleclothes. Don’t think we won’t scrutinise a claim because we don’t requirereceipts.”

Foat says some retail workers claim normal clothes because their boss toldthem to wear a certain colour or an item from the latest fashion line. Othersthink they can claim normal clothes because they only wear them to work.

“An official dress code doesn’t qualify as a uniform and you can’t make aclaim for normal clothing,” she says.

The ATO’s data analytics flags claims by people in occupations that usuallydon’t claim for clothes, such as office workers, and it highlights above-average claims by people in occupations that regularly claim for laundry, suchas chefs and security guards.

The ATO allows claims for washing, drying and ironing at $1 per load if theload is made up of only work-related clothes. People who claim may be asked todemonstrate how often they wear eligible clothes (for example, evidence oftheir shifts).


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