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Two Healthcare Professionals Wearing Scrubs, One in Blue and the Other in Navy Blue, Standing Against a Background of Australian Currency Notes. the Woman is Smiling with Her Arm Around the Man's Shoulder, Both Looking Happy and Confident. the Background is a Collage of Various Denominations of Australian Banknotes.

Are Scrubs Tax Deductible?
Everything Australian Healthcare Workers Need to Know

JUNE 03 2024


Picture this: You’re knee-deep in a 12-hour shift, wearing your trusty scrubs that have seen more drama than a season of Grey’s Anatomy. Between dodging bodily fluids and managing mini-crises, the last thing on your mind is tax season. But what if those battle-worn scrubs could help you save a few dollars on your tax bill?

Let’s dive into the sudsy details of whether your scrubs can help you scrub away a bit of your taxes. Because let’s face it, you deserve a break – and maybe a refund – for all your hard work.

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The Basics of Tax Deductions in Australia

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), over 9.3 million Australians claimed work-related expenses in 2020. That’s a lot of people looking to keep more of their hard-earned cash.

So, what exactly is a tax deduction? Imagine your taxable income is a big pie. A tax deduction is like a slice you get to take out before the taxman comes to collect their share. Work-related expenses can be claimed if they directly relate to your job.

But remember, not everything that glitters is deductible. The rules can be as complicated as a Christopher Nolan film, and getting it wrong might mean an unpleasant plot twist from the ATO.



To Deduct or Not to Deduct?

When it comes to tax deductions, not all clothes are created equal. You might think you can claim those designer jeans as a work expense – but nice try, the ATO isn’t falling for it. However, uniforms, protective gear, and occupation-specific clothing (yes, including your medical scrubs) are a different story.

For clothing to be deductible, it needs to be unique and specific to your job. The ATO has ramped up its scrutiny of laundry expense claims in recent years, so it’s wise to stick to the rules. Uniforms with company logos? Perfect. Protective gear? If it saves your skin (literally), you’re good. Scrubs? Absolutely. As long as your clothing is mandatory and unsuitable for everyday wear, you’re in the clear.

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So, Are Scrubs Tax Deductible?

Let’s cut to the chase: scrubs are considered occupation-specific clothing. That’s fancy talk for “you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this outside of work.” They’re essential for medical and nursing professionals and definitely not a fashion statement (no matter how cute those patterns are).

According to the ATO, occupation-specific clothing that distinctly identifies you as a person associated with a particular occupation is deductible. This means you can claim your scrubs as long as they are distinctive to your role and not suitable for everyday wear.

So, unless you’re planning to rock those scrubs at your next dinner party (and if you are, more power to you), you’re good to go.



What About Laundry Costs?

Good news: you can deduct the cost of your scrubs and claim laundry expenses, including washing, drying, and ironing.


  • $1 per load for work clothing only
  • $0.50 per mixed load (personal & work clothing)

On average, medical professionals claim around $150 annually for laundry expenses. That may not seem like much but every dollar saved is a dollar earned, especially during tax season.

Remember, you can’t claim if your employer launders or reimburses your clothing costs and make sure to keep your receipts – especially if your claim is for more than $150. And no, claiming your home washing machine as a “business expense” won’t fly.

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So, there you have it – the scoop on scrubs and tax deductions. Remember, keeping meticulous records is your best bet, but let’s be real, taxes can be more confusing than a medical drama plot twist. For the best results, consulting with a tax advisor is a smart move. They can give you personalised advice and help you squeeze every possible dollar out of your deductions, ensuring you stay on the ATO’s good side.

Keep your receipts in order, stay savvy, and let those laundry expenses add a bit of sparkle to your tax return. Here’s to making tax time just a little bit less painful – because you’ve already got enough on your plate without the taxman adding to it.


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