Adult workers can claim for tissues and vibrators, but not gyms

Posted: 28 June 2016 6:00 am News


Tax time rules can be tricky in the adult business.

The end of financial year is almost here, and that means strippers and sex workers, like everyone else, will soon be preparing their annual tax returns. Fortunately for them, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) produces a specific guide to the deductions they can claim, and it's shamelessly fascinating reading.

Let's go for the most obviously interesting ruling, on "consumables": "You can claim a deduction for consumable items you use solely for earning income, including condoms, lubricants, gels, oils and tissues." Strictly speaking, you'd need to keep the tissues used for work separate from any you just had to blow your nose on, or else apportion the costs of those tissues based on use.

The ruling on clothing comes with a stern reminder: "You can only claim a deduction for the cost of clothing you use solely for earning income, including costumes and lingerie. You cannot claim a deduction for items such as dresses, skirts, blouses, trousers, shirts and shoes for everyday use." So the gimp suit is in, but the Armani suit is probably out.

The most interesting contrast comes with fitness expenses. While you can claim a deduction for dance classes if you work as an adult dancer, you "cannot claim a tax deduction for the cost of maintaining your general fitness and body shape". That's on your own time and your own dime as far as the ATO is concerned.

And no discussion of adult industry tax claims would be complete without considering "tools and equipment" (ahem). The good news for the adult sector is that "you can claim the cost of replacing or repairing equipment (such as fetish equipment), adult novelties (such as vibrators), and other items you use in your work". However, you may have to depreciate those costs over a number of years if you're not following the simplified depreciation rules for items costing less than $1,000. I am guessing that most vibrators fall into this category.

Chances are you don't work in the adult industry, but it's definitely worth checking out the other ATO guides for specific occupations so you don't miss out on legitimate deductions. Just remember that the ATO has a focus on work-related expenses this year, so don't try any claims that aren't legitimate (such as trying to claim expenses that your employer has already reimbursed you for). For more insights into tax, check out finder's detailed tax return guide, and remember: you can only get definitive tax advice from a registered professional.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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