A Simplified Guide to Claiming a Mobile Phone on Tax

A Simplified Guide to Claiming a Mobile Phone on Tax

Woman claiming a mobile phone on tax

Yes, you can claim your mobile phone as a tax deduction if it’s used for work purposes such as making business calls, managing emails, and coordinating projects remotely.

To help you approach this tax season well-informed and confident, our tax refund specialists have prepared a comprehensive guide to claiming a mobile phone on tax.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the eligibility criteria, what deductions you can claim, how much you can claim, and how to claim a mobile phone on tax.

Can I Claim My Mobile Phone on Tax?

Yes, you can claim your mobile phone on tax for work-related usage. However, to make a claim, you must meet these key criteria:

  • The phone costs must be out of your pocket, not reimbursed by your employer.
  • Only the portion of your phone usage that’s for work can be claimed, personal use doesn’t count.
  • The phone or service you are claiming must have been purchased by you
  • There is adequate substantiation (e.g. receipts, bills, or reasonable justification based on your type of work with sufficient workings out)
  • The 67 cents per hour fixed rate for working from home has not been claimed

What Deductions Can I Claim?

When using your mobile phone for work, there are several potential tax deductions you can claim, including:

  • Communicating with colleagues via calls or texts
  • Receiving and making calls to clients
  • Joining conference calls
  • Downloading presentations
  • Sending and receiving emails
  • Managing social media
  • Using GPS for work-related travel
  • Mobile banking
  • Tracking work hours and schedules
  • Accessing company database or intranet
  • Taking photos
  • Participating in virtual training sessions
  • Recording audio for meetings or notes
  • Scanning documents

Learn More: What Can I Claim Without Receipts in 2024?

How Much Can You Claim for Your Phone on Tax?

Determining the deductible amount for your mobile phone expenses involves considering factors like factors the cost of your phone and the usage percentage for work-related activities.

Immediate Deductions for Small Costs

If your phone or related items cost $300 or less and are primarily used for work, you can immediately deduct the full cost. This straightforward approach simplifies claiming smaller expenses, providing a hassle-free solution for eligible items.

Depreciating Asset Calculation for Higher Costs

For items exceeding $300, such as smartphones, tablets, or other devices, you can claim deductions for their decline in value over time. This process involves calculating depreciation using either the prime cost or diminishing value method.

  • Prime Cost Method: Under this approach, you claim an equal portion of the asset’s cost each year over its effective life.
  • Diminishing Value Method: With this method, you claim a higher deduction in the earlier years, reflecting the faster decline in value of electronic devices.


Imagine you have purchased a smartphone for $1,000 on July 1st, 2023.

Prime Cost Method

Using the depreciation rate based on the diminishing value method at a rate of 33.33% per year (100% divided by 3 years), if the effective lifespan of the phone is three years, the annual deduction would be approximately $333.

Diminishing Value Method

You can also claim a deduction for the decline in value of your phone.

If you decide to use the diminishing value method, you would calculate the decline in value using the following formula:

Base value × (days held ÷ 365) × (200% ÷ asset’s effective life)

$1,000 × (365 ÷ 365) × (200% ÷ 3 years) = $666.67.

Calculation Step Result
($666.67 × 7 ÷ 12 months) $388.89
($666.67 × 4 ÷ 12 months) $111.11

As such, for your tax return for the 2023–2024 income year, you could claim a total deduction for your phone expenses of $500.

How Do I Claim?

Depending on the extent of your usage and the type of billing you have, you can claim several deductions relating to your phone, including:

Fixed Rates for Minor Use

For incidental use, where the cost claimed is less than $50, simple fixed rates can be applied:

  • $0.75 for each work-related call made from a mobile.
  • $0.10 for each work-related text message sent from your mobile.

Itemised Billing

If your phone bill itemises usage, you can calculate the deductible amount by applying the percentage of work-related use to the total bill. For example, if your bill is $60/month and 25% of use is work-related over 11 months, your claim would be $165.

Non-Itemised Bills

For bills that don’t itemise usage, keep a detailed log for a month to establish the work use percentage, and extrapolate this data across the year.

Considerations for Bundled Services

When dealing with bundled mobile and internet services:

Estimated Work-Related Usage

Calculate your work-related percentage based on a typical month’s usage, factoring in how other household members use the service.

Additional Costs

If your work usage leads to additional charges, such as exceeding data caps, then these costs can also be claimed.

What Evidence Do I Need?

To validate your claims, you’ll need:

  • Detailed Bills: Keep all monthly statements that itemise the use of your mobile phone.
  • Logs and Diaries: Maintain detailed records or electronic diary entries for a minimum of four weeks to establish a pattern of business use.
  • Documentation of Necessity: Evidence that supports the necessity of the device for your work, such as job descriptions or employer statements.
  • Workings Out: Demonstrate how the claim amount was arrived at.

What Deductions Can I Not Claim?

Certain costs are ineligible for tax deductions, including:

  • Personal Usage: Any part of your mobile phone use that pertains to personal activities.
  • Reimbursed Costs: Expenses covered or reimbursed by your employer.
  • Supplied Equipment: If the phone or plan is provided by your employer, you cannot claim these costs.
  • Fixed Rate Overlap: Expenses that are part of a fixed rate deduction for home office expenses cannot be claimed separately.

Claim Example for 2023-2024 Tax Year

Emma works in the marketing department of a multinational corporation. Her role revolves around coordinating digital campaigns and maintaining seamless communication with team members and clients alike.

Purchase and Usage Purpose

Emma a new iPhone on the 1st July 2023 for $1,200. Working in marketing, a phone is required to execute her job properly, including being able to monitor her business’ social media account and making and receiving calls from overseas branches of the business.

Costs and Deductions

To support her work requirements, Emma subscribes to a monthly phone plan priced at $55. She estimates that approximately 55% of her phone usage directly contributes to her work tasks.

For the entire tax year, Emma can claim deductions for her phone plan expenses, totalling $363. Moreover, she is entitled to claim depreciation deductions for her smartphone’s decline in value, amounting to $440.

Total Deduction

By documenting her phone usage and expenses in detail, Emma successfully claims a total deduction of $803 for her mobile phone expenses during the 2023-2024 tax year.


Understanding how to effectively claim mobile phone expenses can significantly impact your tax returns.

If you’re unsure about what you can claim or how to document your expenses, our tax refund specialists are here to help.

Disclaimer: The information on this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. Any examples provided are for illustration purposes only and may not apply to your situation. Consult a qualified professional such as us before making decisions based on the content. We are not liable for any loss or damage resulting from the use of this blog. Third-party links are provided for convenience; we do not endorse their content. By using this blog, you agree to these terms.

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