Union fees: are they tax-deductible and what are they?

Table of Contents

As a part of your profession, you may be a member of a trade union which you pay fees for in order to access member benefits. Union fees are typically collected monthly which you should budget for, but the great news is that all your union fees are fully deductible when it comes to doing your end of year tax return.

Whether you’re a member of a union or not it’s good to have a quick recap. Let’s go.

So, what is union?

A union is an organised group of workers who collectively use their strength to raise issues and have a voice in the workplace. Through a union, members are provided with information, advice, and support to ensure that they are fairly rewarded for their work.

All Australian workers have the right to join a union. Whether you work as a casual or permanent staff member, part time or full time, in a large or small business, in an office or outdoors — there is a union to represent you.

Why join one?

Often, to protect your rights at work the best thing you can do is join a union. Union members get specialist advice and support from a network of expert staff and workplace delegates that have their best interest in mind.

Unions provide professional assistance with:

  • Your wages and entitlements.
  • Unfair treatment and harassment at work.
  • Work related injuries or illness.
  • Collective bargaining for better pay and conditions.
  • Suerannuation

They typically advocate on a range of issues including:

  • Better Wages and Conditions – Employees that are under a union collective agreement earn on average $100 a week more than other employees.
  • Workplace Health and Safety – The number one priority of unions is to ensure the safety of their members at work. Evidence shows that union representation makes a difference. Having union members in the workplace increases Health and Safety awareness by up to 70%.

How much does it cost to join a union?

Union fees are typically around $10 per week, but can be higher or lower, depending on how much you earn or how many hours you work per week.

How do I claim my union fees on my tax return?

Union fees are claimed under the ‘Other work-related expenses’ section of your tax return. If you don’t already, consider keeping a regular record of your dues paid throughout the year using the myDeductions section of the ATO app. In the app, these are recorded as Professional fees / subscriptions.

Is it worth the trouble claiming my union fees?

While your union fees may seem small, when added together with all others they could save you a decent amount of money. And, as we like to tell anyone who will listen – don’t leave your hard earned money in the ATO’s pocket! (Marketing won’t let us use capital letters, but you get the sentiment).

Union fees are one of our top five

That’s right, union fees make up one of our top five often forgotten tax deductions. The others include:

  • Tax agent fees
  • Membership fees
  • Work-related car expenses
  • Mobile phone expenses

As with everything when it comes to tax – keep records. Always.

How to get professional advice

Whether you’re looking to join a union or looking to make sure your finances are in a tax-effective position, it’s always a good idea to consult an accountant.  The team at POP Business can provide expert advice and support for individual and business accounting, including managing union fees. To find out more, call us today – 1300 180 630.

Picture of Patrick Sargent

Patrick Sargent

I am a chartered accountant, registered tax agent and a co-founder and CEO of POP. My passion lies in creating high-performing teams, optimising business processes and leading the strategic direction of the business. I am also a member of Chartered Accountants ANZ and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. My expertise includes helping small businesses with a range of accounting services, including: tax preparation, business advisory, accounting and bookkeeping, and personal tax planning, as well as company, trust and partnership tax returns and more.

Table of Contents

Need help with
your Business?

At POP Business we are determined to help you build your dream business!

Need help with your business?

All the support and advice you need, speak to an expert accountant today.


Need help with your Business?

Send us a message