• 11.11 Record keeping requirements

    Employee declarations

    To access the concessional treatment for LAFHAs and benefits, your employee will need to give you a declaration about living away from home. The declaration must be in the approved form and will vary depending on your employee's situation.

    Your employee may also give you a declaration to substantiate their exempt accommodation and exempt food expenditure.

    Situation Declaration

    Employee received a LAFH allowance or benefit before 1 October 2012

    Living-away-from-home declaration

    Employee who is not a temporary or foreign resident received a LAFH allowance or benefit from 1 October 2012 and qualifies for the transitional rules

    Living-away-from-home declaration - from 1 October under transitional rules

    Employee received a LAFH allowance or benefit from 1 October 2012 and works on a FIFO or DIDO basis

    Living-away-from-home declaration - employees who fly-in fly-out or drive-in drive-out

    Employees should not use this declaration if they either:

    • qualify for the transitional rules
    • received the benefit of both the use of accommodation and transport to and from their usual place of residence.
     

    Employee received a LAFH allowance or benefit from 1 October 2012 and they are required to maintain a home in Australia at which they usually reside and the fringe benefit relates to the first 12-month period

    Living-away-from-home declaration – employees who maintain an Australian home

    Employees should not use this declaration if they are either:

    • a fly-in fly-out or drive-in drive-out employee, or
    • are not a temporary or foreign resident but they qualify for the transitional rules.
     

    Employee received a LAFHA from 1 October 2012 and chooses to provide their employer with a declaration about their accommodation and food or drink expenses

    Living-away-from-home declaration – employee related expenses

    Employees should not use this declaration if they have provided you with documentary evidence of their accommodation and food or drink expenses.

    The food or drink section does not need to be completed if the food or drink expenses incurred do not exceed the amount the Commissioner considers reasonable.

    Note: employees will also need to give you a declaration about living away from home.

    Attention

    You must obtain all employee declarations no later than the day on which your FBT return is due to be lodged with us or, if you don't have to lodge a return, by 21 May.

    End of attention
    Further information

    To see the approved forms, refer to Living-away-from-home declarations.

    End of further information

    Exempt accommodation and exempt food components

    To reduce the taxable value of a LAFHA by any exempt accommodation component and any exempt food component, you must obtain from your employee documentation substantiating the expense, as explained below.

    Exempt accommodation component Exempt food component
    • The expense must be substantiated in full.
    • The employee must give you, by the declaration date for the FBT year, either:
      • documentary evidence of the payment of the expense ( credit card statements, bank statements, receipts) or a copy of these documents, or
      • a declaration about the expense in the approved form.
       
     
    • Where the food or drink expenses incurred are more than the Commissioner's reasonable amount, then all of the food or drink expenses must be substantiated (not just the amount in excess of the Commissioner's reasonable amount).
    • The employee must give you, by the declaration date for the FBT year, either:
      • documentary evidence of the expense (receipts, tax invoices, credit card statements, bank statements) or a copy of these documents, or
      • a declaration about the expense in the approved form.
       
    • Where the food or drink expenses incurred are less than the Commissioner's reasonable amount, the employee does not have to substantiate the expense as above.
     
    Attention

    The Commissioner issues an annual Taxation Determination specifying the reasonable food or drink amount.

    It is the amount of food or drink expenditure incurred by the employee that is relevant for the substantiation requirements, not the amount of the allowance paid.

    End of attention
    Further information

    To see the approved forms, refer to Living-away-from-home declarations.

    End of further information

    Example

    Fred’s employer pays him more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount for food or drink expenses as part of his LAFHA. Fred incurs food or drink expenses to the full extent of the allowance provided. He must substantiate all his food or drink expenses incurred, not just the amount in excess of the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    If Fred incurred food or drink expenditure that was less than or equal to the Commissioner's reasonable amount, he would not be required to substantiate his food or drink expenditure – the Commissioner's reasonable amount is taken to be his food or drink expenditure.

    End of example

    Timeframes for keeping and receiving records

    If... Then...

    Your employee gives you a declaration about living away from home

    You must keep the declaration for five years from the date they must give you the declaration.

    Your employee gives you a declaration about their accommodation, food or drink (or a combination of these)

    You must keep the declaration for five years from they date they must give you the declaration.

    Your employee must keep the relevant documentary evidence of their expenses for five years from the date they must give you the declaration.

    Your employee gives you documentary evidence of their expenses (such as receipts, a copy of credit card statements or bank statements), instead of a declaration about these expenses

    You must keep the documents for five years from the date they would otherwise be required to give you the declaration.

      Last modified: 23 Aug 2013QC 17825