tax deductions for police officers

If you work as a police officer, some of the tax deductions you may be able to claim on your personal tax return are:

Meals and Travel

  • The cost of buying meals when you work overtime, provided you have been paid an allowance by your employer (you can claim for your meals without having to keep any receipts, provided you can show how you have calculated the amount you spent)
  • The cost of parking, tolls, taxis and public transport if you are required to travel to attend seminars, meetings and training courses not held at your normal station (if you need to stay away overnight you can also claim for the cost of all meals and your accommodation unless you have been reimbursed for these costs by the Police Department)
  • The cost of using your own car for work, including travel to attend meetings or attend training courses that are not held at your normal station (to claim for car costs it is usually best to keep a diary record of the number of kilometres you travel during the year for work purposes and then we can calculate the amount of your tax deduction at the end of the year)
  • You may also be able to claim your travel from home to work if you have to carry bulky tools or equipment, for example police divers carrying scuba diving gear, provided there is no secure storage supplied at your work place

Work Clothing

  • The cost of buying items of your police uniform (including physical training clothing that is unique and distinctive to the Police Department)
  • The cost of laundry, dry cleaning, alteration and repair of your uniforms
  • The cost of buying sun protection items, including sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, if you are required to work outdoors
  • The cost of buying safety glasses, but NOT prescription glasses or contact lenses

Training

  • The cost of work-related short training courses, provided the course directly relates to your CURRENT job (you can also claim for the cost of travelling to and from the course and any accommodation and meal expenses if you are required to stay away overnight)
  • The cost of self-education courses run by a University (not including HECS/HELP fees) or TAFE. If you are studying, you can also claim for the cost of books, stationery, equipment and travel required for your course

Work Tools & Equipment

  • The cost of buying and repairing equipment you use at work, including electronic organisers, laptop computers and mobile phones
  • The cost of a stopwatch or other watch with special characteristics (for example for diving)
  • The cost of equipment and supplies, including ammunition, bullet proof jackets and vests or body armour, gauntlets, holsters, handgrips, handcuffs, holders, pouches, utility belts and gun cleaning materials. The cost of additional or more sophisticated guns, diving equipment and equestrian related equipment – if you paid for these items in addition to the amounts provided by the Police Department
  • The cost of insuring your tools and equipment

Other Work Expenses

  • The cost of annual Police Association membership fees
  • The cost of work-related magazines or professional publications
  • The cost of work-related books or journals
  • The cost of work-related mobile or home telephone calls and rental (you should keep a diary record of the number of phone calls you make for work for one month and then we can use that to estimate your usage for the whole year)
  • The cost of work-related internet connection fees (you can only claim the proportion of your monthly fees that relate to work use, which could include emailing and research relating to your job)
  • The cost of maintaining a home office if you are required to compete work at home (you should keep a diary to record how many hours per week you spend working from your home office)
  • The cost of payments made to informants (provided that the payments are authorised under the policies of your employing police service, you can prove you paid the expense and you weren’t reimbursed for the cost. Payments can include cash or goods, such as cigarettes, food or a cup of coffee)
  • The cost of maintaining your fitness, but only if you are required to maintain a very high level of fitness, well above the Police Force general standard. Members of special emergency squads, diving squads, police academy physical training instructors, and police officers who work regularly with police dogs and train them may be able to claim fitness expenses
  • The cost of maintaining and training police dogs
  • The cost of renewing any work-related licences, but not including your normal drivers licence

General Expenses

There are some tax deductions that all employees can claim on their personal tax returns:

  • The amount of any donations to registered charities (as long as you haven’t received anything in return for your donation, such as raffle tickets or novelty items)
  • The cost of bank fees charged on any investment accounts
  • The cost of income protection or sickness and accident insurance premiums (this type of insurance covers you if you hurt yourself (including when you are not at work) or become sick and you are unable to work. It will pay you your normal wage until you are fit to return to work – if you don’t have this insurance you should see a financial adviser or ask us and we will refer you to someone who can organise it for you. It is definitely worthwhile)
  • Your tax agent fees (the amount you pay to your accountant to prepare your tax return each year)
  • The cost of travelling to see your tax agent (you can claim the cost of travelling to see your accountant to have your tax return prepared. You should keep a record of the number of kilometres you travel and any other incidental costs such as parking, meals, accommodation etc)

We suggest that you keep receipts for all purchases that are work related, even if they are not listed above. That way, when we prepare your tax return, we can decide whether you are allowed to claim a tax deduction for them or not.

If you would like any more information about the deductions listed or if you would like the Personal Tax Specialists team to prepare your tax return for you to ensure you maximise your claims this year, contact us at info@personaltaxspecialists.com.au.