Work outdoors? You may be able to claim sunglasses as a tax deduction

We have some good news for the health of your eyes as well as your tax return.

The Australian Tax office offers sun protection tax deductions, which means if your job requires you to work outdoors, your sunglasses are tax deductible. There are many professions that require employees to work in the sun for periods of time. With sun exposure one of the key causes of cancer in Australia, sun protection is an absolute necessity for these people. Employees who could claim sun protection tax deductions include:

  • Builders
  • Tradespeople
  • Couriers and delivery people
  • Pilots and airline staff
  • Farmers
  • Fishermen
  • Foresters and gamekeepers
  • Landscapers and gardeners
  • Miners
  • Sports professionals
  • Coaches and trainers
  • Outdoor recreation staff

In general, this exposure to sunlight must be for lengthy or regular periods of time. This doesn’t mean simply walking to the bus stop for work. There must be a genuine connection between the sun protection equipment and your income earning activities.
The best way to know for sure is to ask your accountant if you are eligible to claim the sun protection tax deduction.

How much can you claim?

According to, there is no limit on the cost for your sunglasses, however it’s worth knowing that if they cost more than $300 they are expected to last for longer than 12 months. In which case, you will need to claim the depreciation of the glasses on your tax return over time, rather than the purchase price.

What about regular prescription glasses?

According to the ATO, you cannot claim a deduction for the cost of buying prescription glasses or contact lenses as it is a private expense relating to a personal medical condition. You may be able to claim a deduction for equipment that is used to protect your eyes at work, such as goggles.

The sun protection tax deduction also includes other forms of sun protection like hats and sunscreen.

Tips for protecting your eyes from UV damage

Follow these tips to protect your eyes from the sun all year long:

  • Make a habit of wearing UV protective sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats whenever you’re outside.
  • Don’t be fooled by clouds or the fact that you’re in the shade: a significant amount of damage to the eye can come from indirect light, whether it is from the side or reflected off surfaces such as the ground, sand or water.
  • Sunglasses are also available with tinted prescription lenses for those requiring glasses for clear vision.
  • Remember the kids and older family members.
  • When purchasing sunglasses, remember to check the sun protection factor on the swing tag, look for high category (Australian standard) lenses and remember that a high retail price doesn’t always mean better protection.
  • Polarised lenses can be particularly helpful for reflected glare such as when at the beach or snow.
  • A close fitting, wraparound pair or classic style with thick arms can help prevent glare and damaging rays from coming in the sides of sunglasses.
  • If in doubt, your optometrist can assist with fitting and advise you on the best lenses for your protection.

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