Defence Personal, Maximise your Tax Refund with a Tax Return

Australian Defence Force members

We have been preparing tax returns for defence force members for years and lodge hundreds every year. We understand the differences between what you do and how it’s different from other occupations.

Meals and Travel

Sometimes you may be required to work away or travel for work.

  • The cost of parking, tolls, taxis and public transport if you are required to travel to attend seminars, medical appointments, meetings and training courses off base, if you need to stay away overnight you can also claim for the cost of all meals and your accommodation. But it’s important to note you cannot claim this if you have been reimbursed for these costs by the ADF.
  • 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 base. Working all over Australia we understanding several bases including Albury Wodonga you may have to travel from time to time. You may also be able to claim your travel from home to work if you have to carry bulky tools or equipment, for example ADF divers carrying scuba diving gear. 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
  • A lot of defence personal incur the cost of compulsory mess subscriptions, its’ important to note that the component that relates to meals, food, event ticket and entertainment is not deductible.

Work Clothing

Everything you buy at the stores is deductible if you don’t have your receipts go and ask and they will be able to reprint or provide you with a list.

  • The cost of buying your military uniform
  • The cost of protective clothing  and work gear for your job and courses such as wet weather gear, safety coloured vests, gloves, goggles, masks, steel-capped boots, gum boots or sun protection clothing.
  • The cost of laundry or dry cleaning of your uniforms.
  • The cost of repairing your uniforms or dry cleaning them.
  • The cost of buying sun protection items, including sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, if you are required to work outdoors

Suits and evening wear required for functions is personal in nature and not deductible.


  • 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 payments) 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 tools, electronic organisers, laptop computers and mobile phones
  • The cost of additional or more sophisticated weapon related equipment – rifles, ammunition and cleaning equipment – if you paid for these items in addition to the amounts provided by the ADF
  • The cost of insuring your tools and equipment
  • Did you buy a bivy bag and various tool, utensils and equipment for when you go away in the bush?

Other Work Expenses

  • 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)
  • Are you in training, 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 or training.
  • The cost of maintaining a home office if you are required to complete work at home, you need to keep a diary to record how many hours per week you spend working from your home office.
  • The cost of extra regimental duties (ERD) if the ERD forms part of your income-earning activities
  • The cost of maintaining your fitness, but only if you are required to maintain a very high level of fitness, well above the ADF general standard, and you earn your ADF income by performing a range of duties designed to keep you physically prepared. This generally only applies to physical training instructors and respective members of the Australian Special Forces.
  • The cost of renewing 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 just like everyone else, if you have any donations, the cost of income protection, your tax agent fees for last year.

You cannot claim a deduction if the equipment is supplied by your employer or any other person.

You need to keep receipts for all purchases that are work-related for each year they are claimed for 4+ years. That way, when we prepare your tax return, we can decide whether you are allowed to claim a tax deduction for them or not. It’s better to have more and not get a deduction than leaving or losing them and missing out.

If you would like any more information about the deductions listed or if you would like the team at Business Edge simple book in, email or phone to discuss. The best option is to book in now.