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  • Logbook method

    The logbook method can be used:

    • by sole traders and partnerships (when at least one partner is an individual)
    • if the motor vehicle is designed to carry a load less than one tonne and fewer than nine passengers, such as a car or four-wheel drive.

    On this page:

    Logbook calculation

    If you use the logbook method, you can claim the business-use percentage of each car expense, based on the logbook records of your car’s usage.

    You do this by:

    • dividing the distance travelled for business by the total distance and multiply this by 100 to give you a business-use percentage
    • determine your total expenses (including depreciation) for the income year
    • multiply your total expenses by your business-use percentage to find the total amount you can claim.

    Logbook records

    Under this method you need to:

    • keep an electronic or pre-printed logbook (available from stationery suppliers)
    • have evidence of your fuel and oil costs, or odometer readings on which your estimates are based
    • have evidence for all your other car expenses.

    If you're a sole trader with simple tax affairs, you can create a logbook and record business-related car trips using the myDeductions tool in the ATO app.

    Next step:

    Example: Traveling for work

    At the end of the income year, Tim’s logbook shows he travelled a total of 11,000 kilometres. Of these, 6,600 were for business-related purposes.

    To work out the percentage of car travel used for business-related purposes, Tim made the following calculation: 6,600 ÷ 11,000 × 100 = 60% of travel was for business-related purposes.

    Tim's total expenses, including depreciation, are $9,000 for the income year. To work out how much he could claim, Tim completed the following calculation:

    $9,000 × 60% = $5,400

    End of example

    What to record in your logbook

    The logbook you keep must contain the following information:

    • when the logbook period begins and ends
    • the car’s odometer readings at the start and end of the logbook period
    • the total number of kilometres the car travelled during the logbook period
    • the business-use percentage for the logbook period
    • the number of kilometres travelled for each journey (if you made two or more journeys in a row on the same day, you can record them as a single journey) – you will need to record the    
      • start and finishing dates of the journey
      • odometer readings at the start and end of the journey
      • kilometres travelled
      • reason for the journey (such as a description of the business reason)
       
    • the odometer readings at the start and end of each income year you use the logbook method.

    Note - if your circumstances change, such as a change in the type of work undertaken by your business, you may need a new logbook.

    Logbook timeframe

    If this is the first year you have used the logbook method you must keep a logbook for at least 12 continuous weeks during the income year. That 12 week period needs to be representative of your travel throughout the year.

    If you started to use your car for business-related purposes less than 12 weeks before the end of the income year, you can continue to keep a logbook into the next year so it covers the required 12 weeks.

    Each logbook you keep is valid for five years, but you may start a new logbook at any time.

    If you establish your business-use percentage using a logbook from an earlier year, you must keep that logbook and maintain odometer readings in the following years.

    Using the logbook for two or more cars

    If you want to use the logbook method for two or more cars, the logbook for each car must cover the same period. The 12-week period you choose should be representative of the business use of all cars.

    Last modified: 20 Nov 2018QC 33731