When you can make a claim
In most situations, you can claim deductions for work-related expenses if your claim meets the following conditions:
- you incurred the expense in doing your job
- the expense is not private
- you can show you incurred the expense, by producing receipts or other written evidence.
Note: If you are claiming a deduction for an expense you incurred for something you used partly for business and partly for personal purposes, such as a laptop computer, you can only claim that portion of the expense that relates to your business use.
Supporting your claims
If your total claims add up to more than $300 (excluding claims for car, meal allowance, award transport payment allowance and travel allowance expenses) you must keep written evidence, such as receipts. Your written evidence must show you have incurred the full amount of your claim, not just the amount over the first $300.
If the total amount you are claiming is $300 or less, you do not need to keep receipts, but you must be able to show how you worked out your claims.
Written evidence can be:
- a document from the supplier of the goods or services, showing the
- supplier's name
- amount of the expense
- nature of the goods or services – if this is not shown, you can write this on the document before you lodge your income tax return
- date you incurred the expense
- date of the document
- a combination of documents containing this information.
If you use a combination of documents, each document:
- does not need to show the date you obtained it
- must contain the date you incurred the expense.
These documents can be in written or electronic format. They include:
- bank and other financial institution statements
- credit card statements
- BPAY® reference numbers, also called receipt or transaction numbers
- email receipts
- your PAYG payment summary - individual non-business, which may show amounts you can claim, such as your total union fees
- paper or electronic copies of documents – these must be true and clear reproductions of the originals.
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When you store your evidence, we recommend that you:
- photocopy original written evidence (receipts can fade, particularly when exposed to heat and sunlight)
- make a back-up copy of electronic records, in case the original becomes inaccessible or unreadable – for example, where a hard drive is corrupted.
Example 1: Preserving receipts for car repairs
Tony claims his car expenses through the logbook method; he does not need to keep the receipts for fuel and oil, but he does need to keep receipts for repairs and maintenance. Tony photocopies the thermal paper receipts to protect the information. The receipts contain the required information and are a true and clear reproduction of the original. This copy would be sufficient evidence to support his claims.
End of example
You need to keep your written evidence of work-related expenses for five years from the due date for lodging your tax return. If you lodge your return after the due date, the five years start from this later date.
For depreciating assets, you must keep records for a further five years from the date of your last claim for decline in value.
Work-related daily travel expenses you can claim
Generally, the cost of normal trips between your home and work is a private expense you cannot claim an income tax deduction for. However, as an employee teacher, there are certain situations where you may be able to claim deductions for travel between your home and workplace.
Transporting students or bulky equipment
You can claim the cost of using your car to travel between your home and work if you had to transport either of the following:
- students – for example, to a sporting venue
- bulky equipment you needed to use at work and for which there was no secure storage area at your workplace.
Example 2: Using your car to transport students
On Saturday afternoon, the school rugby union team plays a competition match at the sporting field on the school's grounds. As part of his coaching duties, Jeremy collects several students and transports them from their homes to the sporting field. After the match, he then returns the players and continues his journey home.
Jeremy can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to transport the students.
Example 3: Using your car to transport bulky equipment
Ric is employed as a drama teacher. He transports heavy props and costumes from his home to his regular place of work the day before a school theatre production. In these circumstances, Ric can claim a deduction for his travelling costs on that day.
End of example
Travelling between separate workplaces
Work-related car and travel expenses also include the cost of travel directly between two separate workplaces – for example, when you have a second job.
Example 4: Travelling between two jobs
April travels directly from the school where she is employed as a teacher, to the TAFE college where she gives night lectures. Because she travels directly from one workplace to the other, she can claim a deduction for the travel expenses she incurs to do so.
End of example
Travel to an alternative workplace
Work-related car and travel expenses also include the cost of travel:
- from your normal workplace to an alternative workplace while you are still on duty, and back to your normal workplace or directly home – see example 4
- from your home to an alternative workplace, and then to your normal workplace or directly home – see example 5 following.
Example 5: Travelling from work to an alternative workplace then home
Wayne, an employee teacher, travels from his normal school to a regional administrative centre for a meeting. After the meeting, he travels directly home. Wayne can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to travel between these workplaces and then home.
Example 6: Travelling from home to an alternative workplace then to work
Zareb, an employee teacher, travels from home to a marking centre to mark exams. He then travels to his normal school. Zareb can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to travel from home to the marking centre and then to his normal school. However, he cannot claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to travel directly from his normal place of employment to his home.
End of example
Other travel expenses you can claim
You can claim the work-related cost of using vehicles other than cars as well as parking fees and tolls at item D2 - Work-related travel expenses.
You also claim work-related costs associated with taxis or short-term car hire at item D2 - Work-related travel expenses.
Note: You claim your car expenses at D1 - Work-related car expenses on your income tax return.