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Sex toys, face masks: Surprising things you can claim on tax

Surprising things you can claim on tax. Source: Getty

With the end of the financial year officially behind us, many Aussies will be looking for receipts to claim deductions on their stock standard work expenses. 

But for some workers, there will be some pretty peculiar claims on their tax returns.

“The more strange or left field your occupation is, the stranger your tax deductions will be,” H&R Block’s director of tax communications, Mark Chapman, told Yahoo Finance.

So while many of us will be claiming a percentage of our office supplies and mobile phone usage, some of us will be claiming more colourful items:

Sex toys

Chapman said if you’re spending for your business, you can claim it back, which means sex toys are fair game for sex workers.

“Sex workers could claim all sorts of weird stuff you could never imagine making a tax deduction for,” Chapman said.

Hand sanitiser

The Covid-19 outbreak shone a light on the importance of personal protective equipment for frontline health workers, and anyone working in a job that requires close human contact. 

That means disposable or reusable gloves and face masks, hand sanitiser, antibacterial spray and plastic face shields are all eligible as tax deductions.

“You can only claim these items if the nature of your job reasonably requires you to be in breach of the normal social distancing rules – so beauty therapists, medical staff (including support staff such as cleaners and receptionists), massage therapists, hairdressers and teachers could all qualify,” Chapman said.

However, if you wear face masks for use on public transport on the way to and from work, you won’t be able to claim a deduction.

“The journey to work itself isn’t claimable – it’s regarded as a private expense by the ATO – so costs connected with the journey, like PPE, also won’t be claimable.”

Garden gnomes

If you’ve got a rental property, anything you add to make that property more attractive can be tax deductible.

“If you do some work in the garden, things like garden gnomes and water features - anything that enhances the appearance of a rental property - will either be tax deductible straight away or, if it’s an expensive item, deductible over a period of time,” Chapman said.


Oddly enough, some Aussies are allowed to claim the cost of their dog as a deduction, according to Chapman.

“There are specific people who can actually do that if they’re using it in a farming business, or in a security business to patrol,” he said.

Musical instruments

“If you spend something as part of your business, it’s usually going to be tax deductible,” Chapman said.

That means if you’re a musician or a music teacher, you can claim for the cost of music lessons, or even your musical instruments.

Handbags, make-up

Chapman said it’s the perfect time of year to go shopping to take advantage of the instant asset write-off, which means you can purchase items needed for your line of work that cost up to $300, and claim that cost back instantly.

So, if you need a handbag or briefcase for work, or your job requires you wear make-up, it’s the perfect time to buy up.

Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club episode 7.

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