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  • Travel diary

    A travel diary shows the dates, places, times and duration of your activities and travel.

    The purpose of a travel diary is to help work out the work-related and private elements of your trip. If a portion of the travel is private, you can only claim the work-related part.

    Do you need to keep a travel diary?

    If you travel away from home for six or more nights in a row, you need to keep a travel diary, except in the following circumstances:

    • you receive a travel allowance for your travel, you are travelling in Australia, and the amount you are claiming is up to the reasonable travel allowance expense amount, or
    • you are a crew member on an international flight, you receive a travel allowance for your travel, your travel is principally overseas, and your claim is not more than the amount of allowance you receive.

    You don’t need to keep a travel diary if you travel away from home for less than six nights in a row.

    It can still be helpful to keep details of your travel, even if you are not required to keep a travel diary.

    See also:

    • TD 2017/19 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2017-18 income year?
    • Travel allowances

    How to keep a travel diary

    To ensure you keep a valid travel diary, you should record:

    • your travel movements and activities in a diary or journal of your choice that has adequate space for information, such as
      • where you were
      • what you were doing
      • the start and end times for activities
       
    • your travel movements and activities before the activity ends, or as soon as possible afterwards
    • entries in English.

    Example – domestic travel with no private component

    James is a sales consultant who lives and works in Melbourne. He is required to attend a sales conference in Wangaratta over three days. He then does some store visits in this area.

    James does not receive a travel allowance for his travel. His employer gives him a credit card to use to pay the accommodation while he is away from home.

    Because James is away from home for six nights, and does not receive a travel allowance, he must keep a travel diary.

    The table below shows what James could write in his travel diary

    Day

    Activities

    Monday

    6:00am travel to Wangaratta - arrive 9:00am

    9:30am - 5:30pm Sales conference

    Overnight at conference centre

    Tuesday

    9:30am - 5:30pm Sales conference Wangaratta

    Overnight conference centre

    Wednesday

     

    9:30am - 5:30pm Sales conference Wangaratta

    Overnight conference centre

    Thursday

     

    8:00am travel to Shepparton, arrive 9:15am

    10:00am meet Mr Smith for display meeting

    1:00pm - 5:00pm Shepparton store review

    Overnight Shepparton hotel

    Friday

     

    6:00am travel to Echuca, arrive 7:00am

    8:00am - 12:00pm Echuca store review

    12:30pm - 12:45pm drive to Moama store

    1:00pm - 5:00pm Moama store review

    Overnight Moama hotel

    Saturday

     

    7:00am travel to Bendigo, arrive 8:30am

    9:00am - 6:00pm State Rep meeting

    6:00pm dinner with State Reps

    Overnight Bendigo Motor Inn

    Sunday

     

    8:00am State Rep breakfast conference, finish 10:00am

    10:00am travel home to Melbourne, arrive 12:30pm

     

    Example – overseas travel with private component

    Grace is a university lecturer who lives and works in Perth. She attends a six day international convention in England as a keynote speaker. After the convention is finished, Grace has a holiday.

    Because Grace is travelling for more than six nights overseas, she is required to keep a travel diary.

    The table below shows what Grace could write in her travel diary.

    Travel diary example for September

    Monday

    Tuesday

    Wednesday

    Thursday

    Friday

    Saturday

    Sunday

    28 29 30 31 1 2 3
    4 5 6 7 8 9
    10am flight Q13 to London (via Dubai)
    10
    Arrive London 1pm local time. Train to Oxford 7pm-8:30pm
    11
    Rest day
    12
    International teachers convention starts 9am
    13
    Convention day 2
    14
    Convention day 3
    15
    Convention day 4
    16
    Convention day 5
    17
    Convention day 6, ends 3pm
    18
    Train to London 9am-10:30am
    19
    Holiday - Sightseeing in London
    20
    Holiday - London
    21
    Holiday - Paris
    22
    Holiday - Paris
    23
    Holiday - Lyon
    24
    Holiday - Milan
    25
    Holiday - Florence
    26
    Holiday - Rome
    27
    Holiday - Rome
    28
    Flight home Q23 6pm, arrive 10pm local time
    29 30 1

    Grace’s diary entries show that she was travelling for 20 days. Only half of these were for work purposes as she spent half the time enjoying a holiday while overseas. Grace can only claim deductions for the work related portion of travel.

    End of example
    Last modified: 21 Jun 2018QC 56005