Tax deductions and dry cleaning: what you need to know

It is that time of year when we are all trying to get our ducks in a row and get the best bang for our buck before we have to finalise taxes before the end of financial year. McGregors Dry Cleaners has done the research for you so you know exactly where you stand with dry cleaning expenses and tax deductions.

Tax deductions and dry cleaning: what you need to know

In Australia, the ATO does allow for some clothing, laundry and dry cleaning expenses to be deducted from individual tax returns but there are some strict boundaries.

What clothes can I claim as a tax deduction?

There are three categories of clothing that can be deducted on your tax return:

Occupation-specific clothing

If you wear something that helps the public recognize your occupation easily – and it is not something you would wear outside of work – you can claim the cost of buying and cleaning that item as a tax deduction. Eg: chef’s pants, nurse and doctor scrubs.

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Protective clothing

Particular clothing and footwear that provides sufficient protection against the risk of illness or injury associated with your work activities. Eg: sun protection clothing, safety coloured shirts and vests, overalls, smocks and aprons you would wear to protect your regular clothes. Eg: fluro tradesman shirts, firefighters uniform.

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Work uniforms

If you have a uniform that is unique and distinctive to the company you work for, you may be able to claim a deduction on your tax return.

  • Compulsory uniforms: if there is a strictly enforced policy about a particular outfit you must wear to work, you can claim a tax deduction. Furthermore, shoes, socks and stockings are included and individual items like a jumper can also be claimed. Eg: flight attendant, bank teller, office administration
  • Non-compulsory uniforms: You can only claim buying and cleaning these uniforms if they have been registered with Aus Industry. Your employer will be able to tell you if you are.

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Employers and small business owners please note:

  • Find out what the Aus Industry requirements are for Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) Corporatewear register are right here.
  • Register your small business’ uniform with Aus Industry’s Textile Clothing and Footwear (TCF) Corporatewear Register here.

For clothes that meet the requirements we have just mentioned, you can claim the cost of washing, drying, ironing, dry cleaning and repairing those work-related garments.

What clothes can’t I claim for cleaning on my tax return?

  • Jeans
  • Plain shirts
  • Black pants
  • General business attire including suits, business shirts, ties, skirts and dresses.
  • Individual uniform pieces like a jumper if it is a non-compulsory uniform.

How do I claim allowable clothing expenses on my tax return?

For cleaning expenses up to $150 you will not need to provide evidence but it is still a good idea to maintain a record of any receipts and invoices for cleaning throughout the year. If your expenses exceed $150 for cleaning or is greater than $300 for total work related expenses you will need to provide receipts, invoices or written evidence. If you cleaned the garments yourself at home you can keep a diary record. A safe rule of thumb is to allow $1 per load of work-related clothes or $0.50 per load that includes other garments.

Work out how much of a deduction you are entitled to for your clothing and laundry expenses with the ATO’s work –related uniform expenses calculator.

Now is the perfect time to get into McGregors Dry Cleaners to freshen up your eligible work uniforms and qualify for a tax deduction before the end of the financial year. Ask us in store about the prepaid cards that our business customers love – you can save 25% on every order. We’d love to show you how.

*McGregors Dry Cleaners is not a financial institution and offers this content as general information to help their customers. It is advised that you discuss your particular situation with your accountant or the Australian Tax Office.

Has this article been helpful? Share it with a friend or colleague who may need to know this for their tax return. 

McGregors Dry Cleaners Burleigh: meet our team

Burleigh is home to one of the premier beaches in Australia. As the main street in town, James Street is a refreshing step back from the cookie-cutter shopping centre scene and instead boasts a thriving alternative café and boutique culture.

McGregors Dry Cleaners Burleigh is perfectly situated right in the middle of it all. Directly across the road from Westpac Bank at shop 2, 30 James Street, we are easily accessible for customers to park right out front and run their dry cleaning in or quickly pick it up.

Our Burleigh store is what we call a dry store. While our friendly team can help you with any of your dry cleaning questions, there is no cleaning that actually takes place on-site; twice a day, orders are ferried up to our main site (which we affectionately call The Factory) in Mermaid Waters and back again. Next day dry cleaning is available at Burleigh with all orders being ready for collection after 2pm. We also offer a reminder service by sending a text message once your order is ready for collection.

So what do we do at Burleigh if we don’t stick to our namesake task of dry cleaning? In short: a lot! For a little store, we are a busy hub of repairs and alterations. Recently given a facelift, McGregors Dry Cleaners at Burleigh is the little store that can and we are developing quite the reputation for the quality of our work.

Drop into McGregors Dry Cleaners in James Street, Burleigh, for all of your alterations needs – we have a change room in store so we can work with you to get the perfect fit you. From rehemming trousers or resizing the waist of your favourite pair of pants to wedding dress alterations and everything in between our expert team can work with you to get your favourite garments fitting better than ever.

Call us for a quote or friendly advice on 5576 1298.

FAQ: What is dry cleaning

Have you ever wondered what a dry cleaner actually does with your clothes? Are you puzzled about why they can remove stains that you can’t? McGregors Dry Cleaners is here to demystify the process for you.

 what is drycleaning

So how do you clean my clothes?

The whole concept of dry cleaning is pretty mysterious isn’t it? I mean just how do clothes get cleaned without getting wet?

Wayne McGregor, owner of MDC and former Australian Dry Cleaner of the Year puts it quite simply:

“It’s not that the clothes don’t get wet, it is just that the process doesn’t use water specifically. A liquid solvent is used instead. The process is fast and much more gentle on garments than regular washing and it is particularly effective at removing grease and oil stains.”

As much as our name indicates that we are first and foremost dry cleaners, only about 50% of the garments that we clean are actually dry-cleaned.

One size does not fit all when it comes to cleaning clothes at McGregors Dry Cleaners. For every garment that comes through our factory we make an individual treatment plan based on its care label, the particular fabric of the garment and the nature of the stains that are showing.

 1. Care label

The care label states the recommended cleaning treatment that will not damage the fabric. Items that are allowed to be dry-cleaned will include a special symbol on the care label.

clothing care label

the ‘P’ in a circle means the garment can be safely dry cleaned

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2. Fabric

Different fabrics respond better to particular cleaning methods and the type of fabric can affect the treatment used to remove stains. Some clothes respond better to regular washing or hand washing than dry cleaning. Most fabrics can be safely dry cleaned, cottons and polyesters are fairly robust and don’t lose their shape during regular washing while silk and woollen garments require more gentle treatment and respond better to dry-cleaning.

dress fabrics


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3. Nature of the stains

Stain removal is most definitely a science but luckily our expert cleaners have years of experience working with a variety of textiles and removing stains of all shapes and origins. All garments are pre-spotted before cleaning to address stains and problem areas like underarms, collars, cuffs and crotch.

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If you have a pile of clothes that have been sitting in your laundry waiting for special attention, now is the time to act. McGregors Dry Cleaners can look after your garments whether they are ‘dry clean only’ or ‘do not dry clean’. Come in and see us today.

Spring Cleaning: Clothes Edition

When your doona starts living in a rumpled pile at the end of your bed, your jeans make you sweat just looking at them and those bulky jumpers are taking up precious wardrobe space, it is time to spring clean your wardrobe!

5 steps to winter clothes storage

winter clothes storage

Ensure that your winter woollies will be in pristine condition when you go to pull them out again in 6 months time by following these helpful tips:

1. Clean your clothes before putting them away.

The general rule of thumb is the better you take care of your clothes during the season, the better they will last for the next season. Clean clothes according to their care label regularly during winter and pay particular attention to underarms, sleeves, collars and crutches.

2. Stain alertoxidized stain on clothes

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If stains are left untreated they can permanently weaken and damage the fabric of your clothes. Sometimes, stains are invisible and clothes can be put away thinking they will be fine for another wear before they need to be washed. Over time, these stains oxidise or eat into the fabric. Stains can show up when they have been kept in storage or when they are exposed to heat during the cleaning process. You may find the fabric in that spot is brittle and may fray easily, essentially destroying your garment. In order to avoid this happening to the clothes you’ve invested in, clean them as soon as possible after they have been stained, clean them after wearing, even if they didn’t get dirty and clean them before you put them in storage.

3. Suitable storage containers

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The sub-tropical weather on the Gold Coast means that we have to contend with all 3 main enemies of clothes storage: insects, moisture and sunlight. In this perfect storm of poor clothes storage conditions, the way we store our garments is just as important as the condition we store them in. 

  • store hanging clothes like dresses and jackets in proper garment bags, not the plastic dry cleaning ones – they are meant for short term use only. You can even cover them with a calico cloth. The covering will protect from dust and the breathable fabric will prevent mildew.
  • Consider your hangers. Exposure to moisture and heavy garments can cause wire to lose quality and shape so invest in some wooden or padded hangers for clothes that will be hung when stored.
  • Choose airtight containers for folded clothes so insects can’t get in.
  • When storing boots, purses and leathers, stuff them with newspaper and leave them open so moisture can escape.
  • When storing valuable garments, consider wrapping them in acid-free tissue paper. Ask us next time you are in store and we will be happy to provide some at a small cost.

4. Suitable storage locations

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 Unless your wardrobe looks like this, you will need to find somewhere creative to store your clothes. Keep in mind that you want to them to be away from insects, moisture and sunlight. If you are storing them at home it is best to keep clothes inside the house rather than up in the roof or beneath. Consider the top of your wardrobe, the linen closet, under the bed or couch, or in a guest bedroom. Keep valuable garments in a cool, dry area or use an air-conditioner or de-humidifier to keep them in pristine condition. 

5. Keep them fresh

There is nothing worse than the distinctive musty smell of clothes that have been kept in storage for a long time. The first way to prevent this is by following the first 4 steps outlined above. In addition to these, you could try:

  • A bag of lavendar or cedar chips to keep moths away.
  • Newspaper, silicone packs or absorbent crystals can help keep moisture at bay.
  • Ensure there is air circulation in the storage area. Keep storage containers ajar for periods of time or leave the door to your wardrobe open when the air conditioner is on.
  • For fresh smelling clothes you could consider adding an unopened refill packet of fabric softener or a dryer sheet to the box.

Happy spring cleaning! Please don’t hesitate to ask in store if you have any further questions about winter clothes storage and be sure to tell us about all possible stains when you bring clothes in so we can help you to preserve them.

Helping your clothes stay clean as can be,

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Welcome to the 21st Century MDC

Welcome to the 21st Century MDC

MDC has been ‘cleaning up the Coast’ for almost 30 years. While it is great to reflect and look back on where we’ve been, 2015 is all about looking ahead. This year, McGregors Dry Cleaners or MDC as we abbreviate to now, has joined the rest of you in the 21st century with a fresh new website and social media presence. Watch out world here we come! You can now find us if you search for us online, you can send us an email and you can even follow us on Facebook.

We take this responsibility pretty seriously and have great plans for the months ahead. Follow us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter to be kept in the loop. Get exclusive online specials, expert cleaning advice and share our ‘clean’ sense of humour. Better late than never hey! Thanks for stopping by, we look forward to seeing more of you in the future.