Did You Know That You Can Claim for Sun Protection against Your Taxes?

Posted on: 9 November 2016

Australia is renowned for its climate and many parts of the country receive more sunshine hours a year than anywhere else in the world. Consequently, many people find themselves exposed to the sun when they're carrying out their regular occupation. With that exposure comes a risk associated with those damaging rays. If you're required to work in the sun for long periods of time, did you know that you can claim back the costs of sun protection in many circumstances against your taxes? What do you need to know?

What's Covered?

Exposure to the sun can be one of the leading causes of cancer and you also need to protect your eyes against UV rays, as this can lead to problems in later life otherwise. As a consequence, it's important to wear a very good pair of sunglasses at all times and to invest in headgear and sunscreen. All of these items can end up costing quite a bit of cash.

Who is Eligible?

In particular, those who are in the building trade and work outdoors, or maybe working on the land or at sea are at risk. Pilots and other airline stuff need to consider their exposure to the sun. Landscape gardeners, couriers and delivery people are out and about all day. Those engaged in professional sports, athletes, trainers or coaches must also consider their exposure.

Claiming the Shades

When considering how much you can claim from the ATO for sunglasses you have to determine just how much exposure to the sun you get. The tax authority determines that exposure must be either for lengthy periods of time, or on a regular basis. Therefore, you cannot claim for a pair of Ray Bans if you only really use them during work hours for walking back and forth to another office. Just bear in mind that if you buy a very expensive pair of sunglasses then the tax authority considers that they should last for more than a year. As such you have to depreciate their cost over time, rather than claiming for the entire price up front.

What about Sunscreen and Headgear?

Sunscreen is of course one of the first lines of defence against exposure and generally speaking there is no limit to what you claim for essential sprays and lotions. You will of course need to keep a receipt if you want to claim. Likewise, you can claim for headgear to help protect yourself as these are considered to be essential for those who are working outside.

Leisure Use Okay

Of course, it's likely that you will use these items to help protect you when you're not working as well and this is fine, so long as you're able to prove to the tax authorities that you really do need them when you're obliged to be working.

Check First

If you're not certain that you are in an occupation that's "eligible," it's a good idea to ask your accountant first.