Work-related overnight travel expenses you can claim
For information on the rules that you need to check and records you need to keep, watch the YouTube video Need to claim overnight work-related expenses?.
This video plays for 1 minute and 19 seconds. Select the play button on the image to view or read the transcript.
You can claim a deduction for the full amount of your travel expenses where:
- your employer requires you to travel to a worksite for a short period to perform work
- you are required to sleep away from home for one or more nights while you are doing that work.
This is the case unless the place at which you stay becomes your temporary residence, that is, you are living away from home for work purposes – see Overnight travel expenses you cannot claim.
Travel expenses include:
- incidental expenses
- travel costs between home and the worksite, such as
- vehicle expenses
- bus fares
- train fares
- ferry fares
- taxi fares.
Note: If you are claiming travel expenses and you received a travel allowance from your employer, you must record the allowance as income at 2 Allowances, earnings, tips, directors fees etc on your tax return.
Overnight travel expenses you cannot claim
You cannot claim a deduction for the travel expenses you incur if:
- your employer reimburses your expenses (this is different to receiving a travel allowance)
- you get a job that results in you having to incur overnight travel expenses because you choose not to relocate
- you live away from your usual home to perform your work.
If you live away from home to perform your work, you may receive a living-away-from-home allowance from your employer. A living-away-from-home allowance is paid to cover your additional accommodation and meal costs when you are temporarily required to live away from your usual place of residence in order to perform your duties of employment.
Your employer is subject to fringe benefits tax on your living-away-from-home allowance so you cannot claim a deduction for any expenses you incur.
Your employer should not show the allowance on your payment summary. If it appears on your payment summary, check with your employer that it has not been shown by mistake.
Joe is a project manager. He lives in the city and applied for a job to work on a large construction project near a country town. He is paid an allowance to meet his accommodation and meal costs. As Joe applied for the job in the country town and has chosen not to relocate, he is not entitled to a deduction for his expenses.
Joe's allowance is a living-away-from-home allowance that his employer must pay fringe benefits tax on. The allowance should not be shown on Joe's payment summary.
End of example
Keeping records of your overnight travel expenses
Expenses for which you do not have to keep records
You can claim a deduction for the full amount of your travel expenses without keeping all your records if:
- you received a travel allowance that could reasonably be expected to cover your accommodation, or meals or expenses incidental to the travel (a token amount paid as a travel allowance is not accepted as reasonably covering such costs), and
- your travel expenses were equal to or less than the reasonable allowance amount we set (see below).
However, we may ask you to explain how you worked out the amount you claimed.
If the allowance is not shown on your payment summary and was not more than the reasonable allowance amount, you do not have to show it on your tax return as long as you:
- spent the entire allowance on deductible expenses, and
- are not claiming the deduction.
Otherwise, you must show the allowance on your tax return.
Note: We set the reasonable allowance amount for your circumstances in an annual taxation determination that explains:
- when you do not need evidence of your expenses
- the way in which you can claim expenses.
Antoni travels from Adelaide to Mt Gambier for a job. He is away from home for five nights. His employer pays him a travel allowance of $110 per night for accommodation, meals and incidentals. The allowance is not shown on his payment summary.
The travel allowance amount paid to Antoni is less than the reasonable allowance amount and Antoni spends all of the travel allowance on his travel expenses.
Antoni chooses not to include his allowance on his tax return because:
- it is less than the reasonable allowance amount
- it is not shown on his payment summary
- he spends it all to cover his travel expenses.
This means Antoni cannot claim a deduction for his expenses on his tax return.
End of example
Expenses for which you must keep records
If you are claiming more than the reasonable allowance amount, you must keep records to show the full amount you spent, not just the amount over the limit. These records include:
- a travel diary if your travel is six or more nights in a row – that is, a document that shows the dates, places, times and duration of your activities and travel
- invoices, receipts or other documents showing your travel expense details. If it is too difficult to get a receipt for a meal you purchased – for example, if you purchase a meal from a vending machine – you can keep diary entries as your proof of purchase.
If you do not receive a travel allowance, you must keep all of your records.
Note: If you received a travel allowance that is more than the reasonable allowance amount, you must show the allowance as income at 2 Allowances, earnings, tips, directors fees etc on your tax return.
Award transport payments (fares allowance)
You can claim a deduction for expenses covered by award transport payments only if the expenses are for deductible work-related travel.