Can I claim clothing as a tax deduction?   

Can I claim clothing as a tax deduction?

As a nurse it's often confusing knowing what you can and cannot claim as a tax deduction.  The amazing team at YOUTax have provided us with information to help you get it right.  

You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, repairing and cleaning certain work-related uniforms, occupation-specific clothing or protective clothing.

If you received an allowance from your employer for clothing, uniforms, laundry or dry–cleaning, show the amount on your tax return. You can't automatically claim a deduction just because you received a clothing, uniform, laundry or dry–cleaning 4 of 15 allowance from your employer.



Clothing expenses you can't claim

You can't claim:

  • a deduction for the cost of purchasing or cleaning a plain uniform or conventional clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear them, as it is a private expense. This includes expenditure by employee nurses on
    • clothing worn for medical reasons (for example, support stockings)
    • conventional clothing that is damaged at work
    • everyday footwear (for example, dress, casual or running shoes). You can claim a deduction for the cost of special non-slip nursing shoes
  • costs met by your employer or costs that are reimbursed.

Compulsory uniforms

A compulsory uniform is a set of clothing that, worn together, identifies you as an employee of an organisation that has a strictly enforced policy that makes it compulsory for you to wear the uniform while at work.

You may be able to claim a deduction: 

  • for shoes, socks and stockings if they are an essential part of a distinctive compulsory uniform, the characteristics of which – colour, style, type – are specified in your employer’s uniform policy
  • for single items of distinctive clothing if it is compulsory for you to wear at work, such as a jumper or tie
  • if the uniform is consistently enforced
  • if the design of the uniform is registered and your employer requires you to wear the distinctive uniform, even if it is not consistently enforced

Generally, clothing is distinctive if it has the employer’s logo permanently attached and the clothing is not available to the general public.

Non-compulsory uniforms or corporate wardrobe

If your employer requires or encourages you to wear a distinctive uniform or corporate wardrobe but does not consistently enforce the wearing of it, you can claim a deduction for the cost of the clothing only if the design of the clothing is registered. If you wear a non-compulsory uniform or corporate wardrobe, you can't claim for stockings, socks or shoes as these items can't be registered as part of a non-compulsory uniform. Your employer can tell you if your non-compulsory uniform or corporate wardrobe is registered.

Occupation-specific clothing

You can claim a deduction for the cost of occupation-specific clothing. This is clothing that is specific to your occupation, is not every day in nature and would 5 of 15 allow the public to easily recognise you as a nurse. No deduction is allowable under the category of occupation-specific clothing unless your uniform is one normally worn by nurses. However, you may be able to claim a deduction under other categories.

Protective clothing

Protective clothing is clothing you wear to protect yourself from the risk of illness or injury posed by your income-earning activities or the environment in which you are required to carry them out, for example, non-slip nursing shoes. You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, replacing or maintaining protective clothing. You can also claim a deduction for the cost of clothing that you use at work to protect your ordinary clothes from soiling or damage, for example, laboratory coats and aprons.


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