Tax Deductions for Defence Force Members

Tax Deductions for Defence Force Members

Defence force member 

Average weekly pay:     $1,436
Employment size:          79,424  
Future growth:                Moderate    
Skill level                           Certificate II or III 

Defence force members are employed by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) which is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and a number of ‘tri-service’ units. 

Typical tax deductions:

  • Travel between different worksites, e.g. barricks.
  • Travel transporting bulky equipment, e.g. field equipment packs.
  • Fitness expenses if the job requires a fitness level well above the ADF general standard (e.g. for a physical training instructor with the Australian Special Forces).
  • Compulsory mess subscriptions.
  • Union and professional fees.
  • Self-education expenses if the course relates directly to the current or next planned ADF promotion. 
  • Military service uniforms including military white, blue or khaki shirts with rank or other embellishments, standard matching trousers, regulation jumpers and jackets, official mess uniform, hats or caps with rank or other embellishments, service dress shoes, service handbags and clutch bags, socks and stockings, and camouflage shirts and trousers. Also includes uniform cleaning costs.
  • Costs incurred in performing extra regimental duties (ERD) as long as the ERD activity forms part of the income-earning activities and it is not a private or domestic expense.
  • Equipment including rifles, ammunition, cleaning equipment, pack, swag, sleeping bag, webbing, pouches, bivvy bag, dive bag, multi-tool, compass, headlamp, torch, medkit, knife, GPS, hydration pack, and camping equipment. Depreciate items costing more than $300 each.

None deductible expenses:

  • Private travel including to and from work, to the canteen, and to the gym.
  • Gym fees to maintain personal fitness.
  • Haircuts, grooming, weight loss programs or supplies, even though the ADF has specific regulations.
  • Attending social functions (even if compulsory).
  • Sports attire (such as tracksuits, shorts, and sports shoes). 
  • Costs of food, drink and entertainment at the mess.

As Australian Defence Force members are entitled to full medical treatment they are eligible to receive an exemption (either full or half) from the medicare levy charge. 

A special Overseas Forces Tax Offset is available to members of the Australian Defence Force who have served in a specified overseas locality as a member of the Australian Defence Force or the United Nations armed force, and their income for that service was not specifically exempt from tax.

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