Commencing a trade or traineeship involves long hours spent learning the ropes in your chosen field. It’s a common misconception that apprentices or trainees can’t claim much on their tax return. This is not necessarily the case, because even though you’re just starting out as a trainee or apprentice, there are many deductions available that can help deliver you a pretty big tax return.

Whether you are an apprentice or trainee carpenter, mechanic, electrician, plumber, painter, bricklayer anything else here is a list of the most common tax deductions that are available for you to help you get the most out of your annual tax refund.

Clothing and Protective Items

If you are required to wear branded clothing to work such as hi-vis items or steel-capped boots? It is highly likely that these items are tax deductable.

Branded shirts, pants, hats and protective items like boots, safety glasses and hi-vis clothing are all common trainee and apprentice tax deductions.

It is important to remember that clothing that is not branded is not tax deductible. For example, you can’t claim a plain black pair of cargo pants to work, even if they are compulsory. However, you can claim a pair of steel capped boots or a safety vest, if it is considered protective in nature.

Sunscreen and Sun Protection

Working outside in the heat is a big part of your job. It is therefore important that you keep track of any sunscreen, sunglasses, hats or zinc that you purchase as these can often be all claimed back as a tax deduction.

Cleaning and Laundry

As an apprentice or trainee chances are you will always be getting your hands and clothes dirty.

Make sure you keep track of how often you’re washing your work clothes as you can also claim a deduction for laundry expenses.

Tools and Equipment Deductions for apprentices and Trainees

As an apprentice or trainee, you are often required to purchase certain tools for work out of your own pocket. Tax time is when you can claim these expenses back.

Items below $300 can be claimed in full as part of your tax return. Items over $300 need to be depreciated over a number of years. Let your tax agent know the total cost and when the item was purchased and they will run the maths for you.

It is important to be aware that if the tools are sometimes used for non-work-related purposes, you’ll need claim a work-related percentage rather than the full purchase price.

Mobile Phone Expenses

If you ever make or receive calls for work on your personal mobile phone, it might be a call to your boss about a job you’re working on or ordering supplies for your work site. These calls can be claimed as a work-related percentage of your phone use on your tax return. This is a very common but an often-overlooked tax deduction for apprentices and trainees.

To work out your work-related percentage, go through a typical monthly phone bill and work out how many calls are work related vs personal. If 50 out of 100 calls are work-related, that’s 50%.

This means you will be able to claim 50% of your monthly phone bill on your tax return.

Car and Vehicle Tax Deductions for Apprentices and Trainees

A general rule regarding car expenses is that you are unable to claim home to work travel. However, there is an exception if you carry heavy or bulky tools that weigh 20kgs or above and there is also no safe place at work for you to store them.

If you are an apprentice or trainee who fits the above description, all of your work-related car use even home to work, and back again is in most cases tax deductible.

For those apprentices who don’t carry heavy tools, home to work and vice versa travel is generally not claimable. However, if any other travel you do during the day from one site to another, to pick up supplies or meet with customers is tax deductible.

The Logbook Method – For most trade apprentices who drive a lot for work, this method puts the most money in your pocket at tax time. You need to keep a logbook for 12 continuous weeks of both your work and personal trips. Then you can claim a work-related percentage of all your car expenses for the year on your return. This includes insurance, fuel, registration and even interest on a car loan if applicable.

For those trainees or apprentices who only drive occasionally you can claim per kilometre up to 5,000km per year. The rate per kilometre changes every year tax year.

Self-Education Expenses

As an apprentice or trainee, you are more than likely to take part in some form of education. Any associated expenses can usually be claimed back on your tax return. This could be a certificate, diploma or specialist upskilling.

Any textbooks, training manuals, stationery and internet usage related to the self-education can also be claimed.