Tax Return and Deduction Checklist for Chefs and Cooks

Tax Return and Deduction Checklist for Chefs and Cooks

Hello chefs and cooks!

Ever wondered how you can make the most of your hard-earned money during tax time?

We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive blog on tax deductions tailored just for you.

From cooking equipment to protective gear, we’ll break down the essential deductions in simple terms, ensuring you don’t miss out on any opportunities to boost your tax refund.

What Are Tax-Deductible Expenses For Chefs?

Tax-deductible expenses are work-related costs that reduce your taxable income, potentially lowering your tax bill. However, these expenses must meet specific criteria:

  • Directly work-related: They must be directly connected to your job as a chef or cook, not personal expenses in disguise.

  • Paid by you: Expenses reimbursed by your employer are not deductible.

  • Supported by records: Keep receipts, invoices, or bank statements as proof of your expenses. Digital copies are acceptable as long as they clearly show the required details.

Chef-Specific Deductible Expenses

Chefs and cooks often incur unique work-related expenses. Following are some common deductible expenses in this category:

  • Tools and Equipment: Up to $300 of essential equipment you purchase yourself, such as knives, thermometers, spatulas, and utensils.

  • Chef Apparel and Laundry: The cost of purchasing and laundering chef whites, uniforms with your workplace logo, and other required work attire.

  • Protective Gear: Safety equipment like aprons, gloves, hairnets, and non-slip shoes are needed for your job.

  • Self-Education: Relevant courses, workshops, and seminars that improve your culinary skills and career advancement. Examples include cake decorating for pastry chefs or food safety certification for sous chefs.

  • Licence and Certification Renewals: Renewals of licences and certifications required for your job (initial costs are not deductible).

General Deductible Expenses

Chefs and cooks may also incur general work-related expenses that are deductible. Let’s have a look at them:

  • Car Expenses: If you use your car for work-related travel, keep a logbook or use the cents per kilometre method to claim a portion of your car expenses.

  • Work-Related Travel: Flights, taxis, trains, and accommodation (including meals) incurred for work purposes, like attending conferences or guest chef appearances, are deductible.

  • Phone Bill: Deduct the work-related portion of your phone bill used for business calls, recipe research, or coordinating catering orders.

  • Home Office Expenses: If you have a dedicated workspace at home used solely for work, you can deduct a portion of its costs, including furniture and equipment. Remember, the space must be dedicated to work and not used for personal purposes.

  • Union Fees: Membership fees for relevant culinary unions are deductible.

  • Industry Subscriptions and Magazines: Subscriptions to culinary-related magazines and online resources directly related to your work are deductible.

  • Tax Agent Fees: Fees paid to your tax professional for preparing your previous year’s tax return are deductible.

  • Charitable Donations: Donations to eligible charities can be deducted, reducing your taxable income.

Non-Deductible Expenses

It’s important to remember that not all expenses are tax-deductible. Let’s have a look at some common non-deductible expenses:

  • Regular Clothing: Even if worn only at work, everyday clothes like black pants or white shirts are not deductible.

  • Personal Meals: Daily meals, even if you receive an allowance from your employer, are not deductible.

  • Grooming Expenses: Haircuts, makeup, and other grooming expenses, even if required for your job, are not deductible.

  • Commuting: Travel between your home and regular workplace is not deductible.

  • Market Research Meals: Enjoying a meal at a competitor’s restaurant for “research” is not considered a work-related expense.


By understanding and maximising your tax-deductible expenses, as a chef you can potentially receive a larger tax refund and keep more of your hard-earned income.

For this consulting a tax professional is crucial for personalised advice and ensuring you comply with all relevant tax regulations. And who is better than KPG Taxation? Their expert tax agents are always ready to help you with correct taxation advice to help you get major savings on taxation.

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