What can medical professionals claim on their tax return?

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Between equipment, insurance, overtime, travel and specialised clothing - it can be hard to sift through all the expenses you incur as a doctor or medical practitioner and find out what you can and can't claim on your tax.

That's where we come in.  We have years of experience supporting medical professionals with tax advice and planning, asset protection, and ensuring you're on track for retirement.  

Travel Expenses

You can claim a deduction for travel expenses if you are required to travel overnight and don’t attend your usual work location, e.g. travelling to a remote location to work at a clinic, provided the cost was incurred while carrying out your work duties. 

This could include meals, accommodation and incidental expenses that you incurred and your employer has not provided or reimbursed you.

Car Expenses

You can claim a deduction when you:

  • Drive between two separate jobs on the same day. E.g. driving between house calls.
  • Drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day, such as travelling to different hospitals or medical centres.

You generally can’t claim the cost of trips between home and work (even when working on call). There are limited circumstances where you can claim car expenses for home-to-work travel, including if your employer requires you to transport equipment for work that is essential to earning your income, weighs at least 20kg and there was no secure area to store the equipment at work. 

Clothing Expenses

You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, mending or cleaning certain uniforms that are unique and distinctive to your job – eg a compulsory doctor’s uniform – or protective clothing that your employer requires you to wear – eg lab coats or surgical caps. You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if your employer tells you to wear it, and even if you only wear it for work, eg a business suit.

Tools and Equipment

If you purchased equipment costing $300 or less, such as stethoscopes, gloves etc, and you use it mainly for work, you can claim an immediate deduction for the work-related portion of the cost.

If the equipment costs more than $300, you must depreciate the asset using the decline in value rules - that's something your accountant can take care of for you! 

Education Expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your course relates directly to your current job – eg continuing professional development to maintain medical registrations. You can’t claim a deduction if your study is only related in a general way or is designed to help you get a new job – eg you can’t claim the cost of study to enable you to move from being a paramedic to a pharmacist. If you undertake study where there are both work and private components – eg a cruise where continuing professional development sessions are offered – you need to apportion the expenses and only claim the work-related part.

Home Office Expenses

If you perform some of your work, like administration tasks, from your home office, you may be able to claim a deduction for the cost of running your home office, even if the room is not set aside solely for work-related purposes. You may be able to claim:

  • The decline in value (depreciation) of home office equipment such as computers and telecommunications equipment - if your equipment costs $300 or less, you can claim a full deduction for the work-related portion
  • Work-related phone calls while you are away from your workplace including phone calls with patients
  • Work-related internet access charges
  • The cost of heating, cooling and lighting your home office that is over the amount you would ordinarily have to pay if you did not work from home
  • The costs of repairs to your home office furniture and fittings.

Other common expenses for medical professionals include:

  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Medical journal subscriptions and publications
  • AMA or other medical professional association membership fees
  • The work-related portion of phone expenses
  • Insurance for your medical equipment.

Remember, with all work-related deductions, you can only claim if:

  • You spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
  • It is directly related to earning your income
  • You have a record to prove it.

If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

While you’re taking care of your patients’ health, why not let us take care of your financial health? We have years of experience supporting medical practitioners with tax advice and planning, retirement and estate planning, and protecting their assets so they know their business and family are well taken care of. We also offer strategic business advice and succession planning for those who own their own practice.

You can download the ATO’s summary of work-related expenses for doctors here