Show download pdf controls
  • Bus drivers – income and work-related deductions

    If you earn your income as an employee bus driver, this guide will help you work out what:

    • income and allowances to report
    • you can and can't claim as a work-related deduction
    • records you need to keep.

    Find out about bus drivers':

    Income – salary and allowances

    Include all the income you receive as a bus driver during the income year in your tax return, regardless of when you earn it, including:

    Don't include reimbursements.

    Your income statement or a payment summary will show your salary, wages and allowances for the income year.

    Salary and wages

    You must include your salary and wages as income in your tax return. Include any bonuses you receive.

    Allowances

    Include all allowances shown on your income statement or payment summary as income in your tax return.

    While all allowances you receive from your employer are income, you can't always claim a deduction if you receive an allowance – it depends on the situation.

    If you can claim a deduction, the amount of the deduction is not usually the same amount as the allowance you receive.

    Allowance types, reasons and deductibility

    Reason for allowance

    Example of allowance type

    Deduction (Yes or No)

    Compensation for an aspect of your work that is unpleasant, special or dangerous

    Work in the rain allowance

    No

    These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses

    Compensation for industry peculiarities

    Articulated bus allowance

    No

    These allowances don't help you pay for deductible work-related expenses

    An amount for certain expenses

    Overtime meal allowance

    Yes

    If you incur deductible expenses

    An amount for special skills

    A first aid certificate

    Yes

    If you incur deductible expenses

     

    Example: allowance assessable, no deduction

    Joel is a local bus driver. Joel drives an articulated bus on 3 of his 5 shifts each week.

    Joel's employer pays him $14.08 for each of the shifts he drives the articulated bus. At the end of the income year, Joel's employer shows the total allowance of $2,027 on his income statement.

    Joel must include the allowance of $2,027 as income in his tax return.

    Joel can't claim a deduction because he doesn't incur any deductible expenses. The allowance compensates him for a special aspect of his job, not to cover work-related expenses.

    End of example

     

    Example: allowance assessable, deduction allowed

    Sanjay is an employee bus driver. His employer requires Sanjay to wear a compulsory uniform, which consists of a shirt and pants with his employer's logo on them, when he is on duty. The uniform is not provided by Sanjay's employer, but they pay him a uniform allowance of $500.

    During the income year, Sanjay buys 5 shirts and 5 pairs of pants at a cost of $350.

    Sanjay must declare the allowance of $500 as income in his tax return.

    Sanjay can claim a deduction of $350 as a deduction for the uniform items he buys.

    End of example

    Difference between allowances and reimbursements

    An allowance does not include a reimbursement.

    If your employer pays you:

    • an amount based on an estimate of what you might spend, such as paying cents per kilometre if you use your car for work, then it's an allowance
    • the amount before or after you incurred the expense, such as paying for accommodation and meals when travelling away from home overnight for work, it's a reimbursement.

    Allowances not on your income statement or payment summary

    Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement or payment summary. This can apply to travel allowances and overtime meal allowances paid under an industrial law, award or agreement. You can see these allowances on your payslips.

    If the allowance isn't on your income statement or payment summary, and you:

    • spent the whole amount on deductible expenses, you  
      • don't include it as income in your tax return
      • can't claim any deductions for these expenses
    • spent more than your allowance, you  
      • include the allowance as income in your tax return
      • can claim a deduction for your expense, if you're eligible.

    Reimbursements

    If your employer pays you the exact amount for expenses you incur (either before or after you incur them), the payment is a reimbursement. We don't consider a reimbursement to be an allowance.

    If your employer reimburses you for expenses you incur:

    • don't include the reimbursement as income in your tax return
    • you can't claim a deduction for the expenses.

    Find out about bus drivers':

      Last modified: 17 May 2022QC 61150