If you are a nurse, midwife or another kind of health professional, it is common for you to purchase work-related items and pay for them with your own money. It is important is be aware that these out-of-pocket expenses are often valid as tax deductions which you can claim on your next tax return.  

Here is a list of potential tax deductions available for individuals who are employed in the field of nursing which could help boost your tax refund. Keep in mind that it is important to keep your receipts and documentation for any expenses you are wishing to claim. 

Craig Dangar recommends that you speak with your employer about the FBT exempt items that may be available to you, these can be in the form of mortgage or utilities payments, HECS or a car.  

Memberships and union fees – if you pay a membership fee to a nursing industry body or if you pay dues to a union, you can claim these costs.  

Stationery: This includes planners, log books, diaries, workbooks and other similar types of items.  

Work Uniform: Health professionals such as nurses often have specific clothing which they are required to wear to perform their job. This often results in the employee having to spend large amounts of money on work uniform expenses. This clothing includes protective equipment, uniforms with a logo and laundering expenses for those items.   

Laptop or Computer: If you are required to use your personal computer or laptop for work, you are qualified to claim depreciation costs for these items. These depreciation costs are based on a percentage of legitimate work-related use.  

Subscriptions: You are also able to claim subscriptions to nursing magazines, books and journals which are used to keep your knowledge current and up to date to assist you with your employment.  

Mobile phone: You can also claim a percentage of your mobile phone bill if you use your mobile to make work related phone calls.  

Home office expenses: You can also claim a percentage of costs such as internet and land-line if you have to work from home. To ease the burden on Australian taxpayers who are working from home the Australian government has extended the 80 cents per hour shortcut deduction method. This incentive originally introduced in April 2020 will now be in place until 30th June 2021.  

Under this arrangement, taxpayers are allowed to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses, as opposed to having to calculate costs for specific running expenses. The original requirement of having a dedicated work-from-home area is also removed. Under this scheme multiple people in a household are allowed to claim the 80 cents per hour rate.  

Tax agents or self-lodgers must include the “Covid-hourly rate” in their annual tax returns if they choose to nominate to use this method. If choosing to use this shortcut method, all an individual has to do is keep a record of the hours they have worked from home as evidence when making a claim.  

To be eligible to claim a deduction whilst working from home the ATO outlines that; “you must have spent the money, the expenses must be directly related to earning your income and you must have a record to prove it”.  

These additional expenses include more money spent on lighting, heating, clean and cooling. Working from home also means that more money is spent on electricity used to operate electronic items. Phone bills increase, internet expenses surge and there is also a decline in the value of furniture and computers that are used for employment purposes.  

Nurses and midwifes might be able to claim car expenses  

In many cases, nurses are required to:  

  • Transport patients  
  • Travel between hospitals/medical practices during their shift  
  • Travel from a hospital to a second job (or vice versa)  

Therefore, these trips will in most cases qualify as tax deductions for nurses. Keep a logbook to ensure your claim is correct and remember that travel between home and work is not claimable.  

If you’ve been reimbursed, don’t claim it

Employers often reimburse staff for costs. If this is the case for you, you are unable to claim the expense as a tax deduction. It is important to be aware that, legitimate ATO tax deductions for nurses only include expenses you’ve paid for yourself where you haven’t received a reimbursement. If your employer paid, you don’t claim it. Especially because the ATO is very good at detecting mistakes with this and you could be penalised later.  

Nurse’s self-education expenses can be claimable

Self-education expenses are common, especially when you’re studying to further for your role and expand your career prospects. This includes short courses for example; first aid courses, OH&S and other similar course and qualifications such as a related degree. However, if you’re studying to get a new job or a first job as a nurse or midwife, education costs are unable to be claimed.