Claiming Laundry and Clothing Deductions What You Need to Know


Many people don’t understand what laundry and clothing deductions can be claimed. Generally, clothing must be logged or protective, and conventional clothing will not qualify eg a suit worn by a lawyer or designer clothes worn by a sales rep.

This article will explore the eligibility criteria, types of deductible expenses, and the documentation required to ensure compliance with ATO regulations.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for laundry and clothing deductions, individuals must meet specific criteria outlined by the ATO. Generally, these criteria revolve around the nature of the work and the necessity for specialized clothing or laundry services. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Occupation-Specific Clothing: If your occupation requires you to wear specific uniforms, protective clothing, or other work-related attire, you may be eligible for deductions. This applies to professions such as healthcare workers, construction workers, and emergency service personnel.
  2. Distinctive Clothing: Deductions may also be claimed for distinctive clothing that is not suitable for everyday wear. This includes clothing with logos or branding that identifies it as work-related attire.
  3. Protective Clothing: Expenses related to protective clothing necessary for the nature of the work, such as safety boots, high-visibility vests, or helmets, may be deductible.
  4. Non-Deductible Everyday Clothing: Clothing that could be worn outside of work, even if it’s recommended or encouraged, is generally not eligible for deductions. This includes office attire, even if a dress code exists.

Types of Deductible Expenses

Once eligibility is established, individuals can consider the types of deductible expenses related to laundry and clothing. The ATO allows deductions for both the cost of purchasing and maintaining eligible clothing. Here’s what you may be able to claim:

  1. Purchase Costs: The initial cost of purchasing occupation-specific clothing or protective gear is deductible. This includes the cost of buying uniforms, work boots, and other necessary items.
  2. Repair and Maintenance Costs: Ongoing maintenance costs, such as repairing uniforms or specialized clothing, are deductible. This may also include alterations to make clothing suitable for the job.
  3. Laundry Expenses: If your job requires you to wash, dry-clean, or otherwise maintain your work-related clothing, you can claim a deduction for laundry expenses. This can include the cost of laundry detergents and electricity for washing machines.

Documentation and Record-Keeping

Accurate record-keeping is crucial when claiming laundry and clothing deductions. To support your claims and ensure compliance with ATO regulations, consider the following:

  1. Receipts and Invoices: Keep receipts and invoices for the purchase of work-related clothing and laundry expenses. These documents provide evidence of your expenditure.
  2. Record of Laundry Costs: Maintain a record of your laundry costs, including a reasonable estimate of the expenses incurred. This may include costs associated with washing and drying work-related clothing.
  3. Diary Entries: If you’re claiming laundry expenses without receipts (for example, if you wash your work-related clothing at home), keep a diary detailing your laundry activities, including the number of loads and the calculation method used to determine expenses.


Understanding the nuances of laundry and clothing deductions is essential for maximizing tax savings while staying compliant with ATO regulations. By meeting eligibility criteria, identifying deductible expenses, and maintaining meticulous records, individuals can confidently navigate the complexities of claiming these deductions. As always, seeking professional advice or consulting the latest ATO guidelines is recommended to ensure accurate and up-to-date information tailored to individual circumstances.

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