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What tax deductions can you claim as a locum doctor?

🕑 8 minutes read


Working as a locum doctor can be a hugely rewarding and versatile part of your career as a medical professional. However, there are certain financial aspects you should be aware of. We’ve put together a few questions and answers we think will be helpful in your journey as a locum doctor. 

FAQS: What tax deductions can you claim as a locum doctor? 

Can you claim meals whilst on shift as a locum doctor? 

Unfortunately, whilst on shift as a locum doctor, meals are considered private as you would be eating regardless of the shift that you are working so you are unable to claim this as a deductible expense.  

Can you claim for car expenses as a locum doctor? 

It is a common misconception amongst sole traders that all travel expenses can be claimed. You can only claim for travel expenses if it is a requirement of the job, excluding the commute to your regular workplace. An example of a time where you could claim expenses is if you were required to drive to a second hospital during working hours.  

Many doctors believe that they can claim the cost of getting to a hospital to complete a locum shift, whether it be in their main city or interstate and regardless of them receiving a travel allowance or not. The facts are, if you are not being directed to work at a new location under a pre-existing employment contract, the travel is not deductible. This is because tax law states you have not yet started earning income when the costs are incurred. An example where you could claim the travel is if you worked for a network of private hospitals like the Epworth. If they were employing you to work in Richmond, then sent you to work in Geelong with the travel costs incurred by you, you could deduct these.

Check out our article on Deductible travel expenses for doctors for more detailed information on how to claim for vehicle travel expenses.  
In some limited circumstances you can claim the cost of the trip between home and work. If you are carrying tools or equipment for work you can claim a deduction for the cost of the trip, however all of the following must apply:  
The equipment is essential and required for your job.  
There is nowhere to securely store the equipment at your workplace. 

Can you claim for travel expenses as a locum doctor? 

Travel expenses in this context include the cost of the actual travelling, the accommodation, meals, and any extraneous costs you may incur when travelling for work related reasons.  
If the travel is paid for or reimbursed by your employer, you cannot claim a deduction.  
You can claim limited travel expenses if the original reason for your travel is private. An example of this would be if you were abroad on holiday and went to a conference whilst there. You could claim back for the cost of the conference, but only a portion of your flights and accommodation for the nights of the conference. 

Can you claim for accommodation expenses? 

There are a few conditions that must be met for you to be eligible to claim for specific accommodation expenses: 
– Any travel allowance you have received is declared. 
– Your permanent home is a significant distance from the workplace. 
– You are staying away from your permanent home for short amounts of time. 
– Your employer requires you to be at that specific physical location. 

Can you claim for clothing and laundry expenses as a locum doctor? 

Clothing and the cost to buy/hire/clean/repair usually cannot be claimed as a deduction in most circumstances. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Conventional clothing such as business attire cannot be claimed, but specialised protective clothing and a compulsory uniform can be claimed. Protective clothing has features that is specifically designed to protect you from certain risks that you would encounter during your workday. An example of this would be a lab coat, or non-slip shoes.  
Compulsory uniforms that you are required to wear during the workday can be claimed. It must be consistently enforced and distinctive to your organisation (e.g. branded with logo). 

Can you claim for education and study expenses as a locum doctor? 

Costs associated with attending conferences, workshops, seminars, and courses relevant to your medical practice as a locum doctor can be claimed as deductions. This includes registration fees, travel expenses, and accommodation.  There are a few extra criteria that must be met also. The course or study material must be relevant to your current employment work duties. It also must result in, or likely contribute towards the chances of you receiving an increase in income from your current employer. You are unable to claim a tax deduction if the study is non-specific to your role or career trajectory.  

Can you claim for working from home expenses as a locum doctor? 

Yes, there are certain claims you can make that are incurred by working from home as a locum doctor. Read our article here on How To Calculate Working From Home Tax Deductions

What other tax deductions can you claim as a locum doctor? 

There are a few miscellaneous expenses you can claim as a locum doctor.  
– Any PPE (personal protective equipment), such as gloves, face masks, and sanitiser. 
– Work related phone costs can be claimed for, if you have detailed records showing that it was used for work. 
– Medical journal subscriptions and publications. 
– Medical equipment and tools: expenses related to the purchase, repair, and maintenance of medical equipment and tools necessary for your locum work, such as stethoscopes, diagnostic instruments, and reference books, may be deductible, as well as the insurance covering these items`.  
– Medical license and registration fees: you can claim deductions for the fees paid to maintain your medical license and professional registration with relevant medical boards or associations. 
– The premiums you pay for professional indemnity insurance to protect yourself against liability claims can be claimed as a tax deduction. 
– The premiums you pay for income protection insurance are also deductible. 

Can you claim flu shots and vaccinations as a locum doctor? 

Unfortunately, even if you’re required by your employer to have them, you cannot claim a flu shot or other vaccination costs. 

Can you claim tax agent fees?

If you engage a tax agent or accountant to assist you with your tax return or financial matters, their fees can be claimed as deductions.  

Can you claim locum agency fees?

If you engage the services of a locum agency to find work assignments, the fees you pay to the agency can be claimed as deductions.  

Can you claim bank fees?

If you have a separate business bank account for your locum work and incur fees for transactions or account maintenance, these fees can be claimed as deductions. 

Getting further tax advice 

For more information on tax and accounting as a locum doctor, speak to one of our specialised tax consultants by booking an appointment here.  

What else should you know about locum work? 

For additional things to consider when locuming, see our article the basics of locum work here  

What is locum work? 

Locum work, or private assisting in surgery, offers junior doctors (typically residents and interns), an opportunity to gain broader experience by working in various hospitals. This form of employment allows you to explore different areas of the medical profession while simultaneously increasing your income.  

Locum work can serve as a valuable stepping-stone in your medical career by taking on temporary assignments in different healthcare settings, it allows you to broaden your clinical skills and knowledge, as well as your professional network. Each hospital presents unique challenges and patient populations, exposing you to diverse medical cases and specialties. This exposure not only enhances your competence but also helps identify areas of interest and potential career paths within the medical field.  

Furthermore, locum work offers attractive financial benefits, and this additional income can help to alleviate the financial burdens often faced by junior doctors, such as student loan repayments or living expenses. The flexibility of locum work allows you to choose assignments based on availability and preferences, providing you with greater control over your work-life balance. 

DPM have a team of experts who specialise in medical financial planning and can help you achieve your financial goals as a medical professional. To learn more, click here to book an obligation-free initial consultation

Disclaimer: * The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice, as your personal circumstances, needs and goals have not been considered. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain professional advice concerning specific matters before making a decision. 

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