Common deductions for expat fly in fly out workers

Expat fly in fly out workers fall under different tax laws and regulations to your normal expatriate, and by not knowing this, you might be missing out on a host of savings through deductions you may not know you’re eligible for.

Overseas forces

I’ve you’ve been employed overseas by the Australian Defence Force or the United Nations you may be eligible for the overseas forces tax offset. The Australian Taxation Office provides calculators so that you can work out the exact offset you’ll receive from being deployed overseas.

Fly in, fly out remote workers

For some remote workers, “zone tax offsets” are given as a result of working in an isolated part of Australia. There are, however, conditions to this tax benefit. You must be working in a remote or isolated part of Australia for at least six months and oil and gas rigs are not classified as remote or isolated, so this tax benefit will not cover these workers.

Unfortunately, from 1st July 2015, the conditions for zone tax offsets changed so that not only your workplace but also your place of residence must lie in one of the zones to be eligible. You can find out whether you fill those requirements here.


For fly in, fly out workers, meals can be claimed only under certain conditions. They can be claimed if they are purchased in overtime and your employer has given you meal allowances based on industry rates. You don’t have to keep the receipts if they fall under the ATO limit but if not, receipts will be required.


Unfortunately, the distance between your place of residence and the departure point are not deductible. Relocation fees are also not covered if you need to move to a new employment site. You can, however, claim deductions on your luggage, or any other material items essential in travelling in your profession.


Clothing for employment may be deducted as long as your employer’s brand name or logo appears on it. Some protective clothing, and the cost of its repair and/or replacement as well as the laundry of such items can be deducted but this does not include conventional wear.

General expenses

Other deductions given to expat fly in, fly out workers are deductions on equipment and tools as long as they’re under $300, annual membership fees relating to your employment, and licensing renewal costs.

All in a tangle with your taxes? Give Expat Tax Services a call for help with your expat Australian tax returns.

Shane Macfarlane CA
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Comments 2

  1. I work over seas and have done for 3 years now in africa and pay for everything in australia but cannot claim I am told for a thing yet I pay into a tax system to support the tax payers and dole bludgers and cannot claim a thing even have to hold full medical cover and get no refunds?? treated like an immigrate yet I bring money into australia so how does this work it is unfair.

    1. Post

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your comments – I definitely feel your frustration also. It’s quite a tough situation and one that’s all too common sadly. Unfortunately most FIFO workers remain as Australian tax residents and so what you’ve just described is correct sadly. You have to pay high rates of tax back to Australia despite barely setting foot back in Australia.

      Now there are ways of reorganising your life so that this doesn’t occur, however it requires drastic steps, steps that for most people just are not achievable or palatable.

      If you ever want to have a discussion over the phone about all this, feel free to book some time in with me via our book an appointment page as I’d be more than happy to take you through it.



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