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  • Common expenses T–W

    Details on common retail industry employee expenses for:

    Taxi, ride-share, public transport and car hire

    You can claim a deduction for transport costs if you travel in the course of performing your work. For example, taking a taxi from you regular workplace to another work location.

    You can’t claim a deduction for travel expenses between home and work, these are private expenses.

    You can't claim a deduction if your employer reimburses you for these expenses.

    Travel expenses

    You can claim a deduction for expenses you incur when your work requires you to both:

    • travel for work
    • sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your employment duties.

    Expenses you can claim include your accommodation, meals and expenses which are incidental to the travel (incidentals). For example, when you travel interstate to attend a work-related conference, seminar or training course.

    You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you haven't incurred any expenses, because you either:

    • you slept in accommodation your employer provides
    • you eat meals your employer provides
    • your employer or a third party reimburses you for any costs you incur.

    Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn't automatically mean you can claim a deduction. In all cases, you need to be able to show:

    • you were away overnight
    • you have spent the money
    • the travel directly relates to earning your employment income
    • how you work out your claim.

    If you receive a travel allowance you must include it as assessable income in your tax return unless all of the following apply:

    • the travel allowance is not on your income statement or payment summary
    • the travel allowance doesn't exceed the Commissioner's reasonable amount
    • you spent the whole allowance on deductible accommodation, meal and incidental expenses, if applicable.

    The Commissioner's reasonable amount is set each year. The amount is used to determine whether an exception from keeping written evidence applies for the following expenses which are covered by a travel allowance:

    • accommodation
    • meal
    • incidentals.

    You don’t have to keep written evidence such as receipts if both of the following apply:

    • you receive a travel allowance from your employer for the expenses
    • your deduction is less than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    If you claim a deduction for more than the Commissioner’s reasonable amount you need to keep receipts for all expenses, not just for the amount over the Commissioner’s reasonable amount.

    Even if you are not required to keep written evidence such as receipts, you must be able to explain your claim and show you spent the amounts. For example, show your work diary, that you received and correctly declared your travel allowance and bank statements.

    Example: travel expense with allowance

    Lorena is a manager at a regional women's wear franchise. One a month she travels to Perth to visit the head office for a meeting. Her employer pays for her flights and accommodation and provides a travel allowance which covers her meal expenses. If Lorena spends less than the reasonable amount on her meals she isn't required to keep receipts. She is able to claim a deduction up to the Commissioner's reasonable amount for breakfast, lunch and dinner so long as:

    • she has actually incurred the meal expense
    • reported the allowance in her tax return.

    Lorena can't claim a deduction for the cost of her flights and accommodation as these are paid for by her employer.

    End of example

     

    Example: travel expense without allowance

    George works as a retail assistant. His manager requests that he flies to Sydney to meet with the regional manager. George pays for his flights, accommodation and meals himself. He does not receive a travel allowance from his employer.

    George can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs for his flights, accommodation and meals.

    As George does not receive a travel allowance, he is required to get and keep written evidence of all his expenses for accommodation and meals. George will also need to keep written evidence of his expenses for the flights.

    End of example

    See also:

    • TD 2020/5 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2020-21 income year
    • Travel expenses

    Union and professional association fees

    You can claim a deduction for union and professional association fees you pay. You can use your income statement as evidence of the amount you pay if it's shown on there.

    See also:

    For more retail industry workers' expenses, see:

    Find out about retail industry workers':

      Last modified: 22 Feb 2021QC 51271