Tax for HVAC tradies: what work-related expenses can I claim?

Published: 26 June 2020

If you’re a HVAC business owner or manager, be sure to pass this article on to your employees so they can make the most of their tax return.

As tax season rolls around, it’s time for workers in the commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry to prepare their tax returns.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work, so it’s important that you understand what deductions you can and can’t claim this year.

Here are the common work-related expenses that workers in the HVAC industry can claim in their tax return this year:

Car and travel expenses

When it comes to car expenses, you can claim the cost of travel while performing your duties such as travel between different work locations.

You can’t normally claim trips between home and work, even if you live a long way from your workplace or have to work outside normal business hours.

However, there are exceptions to claiming trips between work and home like when your home is a base of employment, you have shifting places of work and other reasons listed here.

If you plan to claim car-related expenses, remember to keep a valid logbook and calculate your work-related kilometres with the cents per kilometre method.

If your vehicle has a carrying capacity of one tonne or more such as a ute, then the vehicle is not considered a car.

In these circumstances, you can claim actual expenses related to your work travel as a travel expense, such as:

  • Fuel
  • Oil
  • Insurance
  • Repairs and servicing
  • Car loan interest
  • Registration
  • Depreciation.

Again, keep records of all your expenses, as well as records of how you calculated your work travel compared to your overall travel.

Travel expenses

If you have to travel for work and spend a night away from your home for work purposes, you can claim a deduction on the costs of accommodation, meals and incidentals as travel expenses.

Keep in mind that you aren’t automatically entitled to a deduction if you receive an allowance from your employer.

Clothing and laundry expenses

Firstly, you can’t claim the costs associated with plain or normal clothing, including shorts, track pants, jeans, trousers or black shoes worn at work, even if you’re required to wear them.

To claim a deduction on buying, hiring, repairing, replacing, and cleaning work-related clothing, it needs to be:

  • Protective clothing and footwear that provides a sufficient degree of protection against the risk of injury or illness posed by your work
  • Occupation-specific clothing that distinctively identifies you as a person associated with a profession or trade
  • A compulsory uniform that identifies you as part of organisation with a strictly enforced uniform policy
  • A non-compulsory uniform if your employer has registered the design with AusIndustry.

For more details about clothing and laundry expenses, click here.

Tools and equipment expenses

You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment that you buy for work, however be mindful of claiming a deduction if you also use them for private use.

You can’t claim a deduction on the private use of those tools, so if you use those tools only half of the time for work, then you can only deduct half of the cost.

If a tool or piece of work equipment costs more than $300, you can claim a deduction over a number of years.

For tools and equipment that costs $300 or less, you can claim an immediate deduction for the whole cost. You can find more information about deductions on tools and equipment here.

Other common deductible expenses

There are other work-related expenses that you can claim, including protective equipment like sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.

You can also claim union fees and phone expenses if you have to make phone calls or send text messages for work.

If you are working from home, you can also claim expenses related to that work. These expenses can include electricity, internet or the decline in value in furniture or equipment.

Remember that to claim a deduction for work-related expenses, you must have spent the money yourself and must not have been reimbursed.

Click here for a detailed list on what you can claim as a tradesperson or apprentice in your tax return this year.