Can Photographers Claim Suits or Raincoats?
A barrister who goes to court must wear a suit, but that suit is not tax deductible to him or her. If a barrister can’t get a tax deduction for work clothing, how hard will it be for photographers?
The general rule is that clothing you could wear out socially is not deductible at work. So, a wedding photographer who wears a smart suit or dress to a job cannot claim a tax deduction.
Nor can a commercial photographer who dresses up in a suit to shoot a client function.
To get a tax deduction for clothing, the most common way suggested by accountants is to have your business name embroidered or stamped on your clothing in some way.
However, before you think of hand writing your business name under the armpit or in very small type with a fabric pen, you should be aware that the tax office has thought about this as well and has put in place extensive rules about the size and placement of your company branding.
Have a chat to your accountant to determine the rules that may apply to you.
Occupation Specific Clothing
Clothing that you would only wear while working may be deductible, such as the wig for a barrister or a police uniform, although these are often supplied by the employer.
Photography vests with pockets for lenses and memory cards would be deductible on this basis for photographers because it is specific to our profession (and possibly fly fishermen).
However, an ordinary jacket with large pockets would not.
Editorial, landscape and wildlife photographers may find themselves working outdoors and requiring protective clothing.
Camoflagued clothing for wildlife photographers, protective rainwear for landscape and sport photographers, and protective steel-capped boots for commercial photographers needing access to construction and mining sites will generally be deductible if only used for work purposes.
And if you work outdoors, you will probably be entitled to claim sunglasses, hats and sunscreen as well.
However, the tax office may require you to apportion the use of these clothes between private and business use. A second pair of sunglasses for private use may solve this problem, as would a separate tube of sunscreen for work use.
This is general information only. We do not know your specific financial or legal situation and we are not providing you with advice. As such, this article should not be relied upon as legal, financial or accounting advice. Please use this article as a conversation starter with your own adviser.