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  • Flight crew – income and work-related deductions

    If you earn your income as flight crew, 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.

    This guide doesn't cover the tax obligations of employee pilots – see Pilots – income and work-related deductions.

    Find out about flight crew:

    Income – salary and allowances

    Include all the income you receive during the income year in your tax return, this includes:

    Don't include reimbursements.

    Your income statement or payment summary will show all 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.

    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

    Foreign language allowance

    No

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

    Compensation for industry peculiarities

    Flying allowance

    No

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

    An amount for certain expenses

    Meal allowance when you travel for work

    Yes

    If you incur deductible expenses

    An amount for special skills

    A first aid certificate

    Yes

    If you incur deductible expenses

     

    Example: allowance is assessable income, no deduction allowable

    Marie is an employee flight attendant. Marie's employer has appointed her an in-flight trainer. This role requires her to provide in-flight training to trainee cabin crew members.

    Marie's employer pays her a training allowance for each week she performs this role. At the end of the income year, Marie's employer shows the total amount of the training allowance on her income statement.

    Marie must include the training allowance as income in her tax return.

    Marie can't claim a deduction because she doesn't incur any expenses. The allowance compensates her for taking on an additional role. It is not to help pay for any work-related expenses Marie might incur.

    End of example

     

    Example: allowance is assessable income, deduction allowable

    Ben is a flight attendant on international flights. When Ben is rostered on to a shift that requires him to take his major rest break away from home, his employer pays him an allowance for meals. Ben uses the allowance to buy meals during the period he is travelling away from home for work. At the end of the income year, Ben's employer shows the meal allowance on his income statement.

    Ben must include the allowance as income in his tax return.

    Ben can claim a deduction for the cost of the meals he buys while he is travelling for work.

    End of example

    Difference between allowances and reimbursements

    An allowance doesn't 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
    • for the actual amount of the expense (either before or after you incur the expense), such as paying for the petrol you use if you use your car for work, it's a reimbursement.

    Allowances not shown 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 you:

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

    Find out about flight crew:

      Last modified: 16 May 2022QC 24416