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Bus driver expenses P–S

Last updated 7 June 2023

Details on claiming bus driver expenses.

Parking fees and tolls

You can't claim a deduction for parking at or near a regular place of work. You also can't claim a deduction for tolls you incur for trips between your home and work. This is a private expense.

You can claim a deduction for parking fees and tolls you incur on work-related trips. For example, if you drive your car from the depot to head office for training and incur a toll on the way.

Phone, data and internet expenses

You can claim a deduction for phone, data and internet costs for the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.

If your phone, data and internet use for work is incidental and you're not claiming more than $50 in total, you do not need to keep records.

If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill where you can identify your work-related phone calls and data use.

You can’t claim a deduction if your employer:

  • provides you with a phone for work and pays for your usage
  • reimburses you for the costs you incur.

You can't claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends even while travelling for work. This is because they are personal phone calls.

For more information, see:

Example: calculating phone expenses

George is a bus driver and he uses his personal mobile phone for work purposes (mostly outgoing calls). He is on a set mobile phone plan of $49 a month and rarely exceeds the plan cap.

He receives an itemised bill from his phone provider each month by email, which includes details of the individual phone calls he has made.

George regularly prints out his monthly phone bill and for one month he highlights his work-related phone calls. He also makes notes on the highlighted itemised bill about who he has phoned, for example the depot and his manager.

Out of the 150 phone calls he has made in a 4 week period, George works out that 30 (20%) of the individual phone calls are for work. He then applies that percentage to his cap amount of $49 a month.

George calculates his phone calls for work purposes as follows:

Total work phone calls ÷ total number of phone calls = work use percentage for phone calls

30 ÷ 150 = 0.20 (that is 20%)

George can claim 20% of the total bill of $49 for each month for work purposes.

$49 × 0.20% = $9.80

Since George was only at work for 46 weeks of the year (10.6 months), George calculates his work-related mobile phone expense deduction as follows:

10.6 months × $9.80= $103.88

End of example

 

Example: work and private use

Suzette uses her computer and personal internet account at home to access her work emails and complete compulsory training. Suzette also uses her computer and the internet for private purposes.

Suzette keeps a diary for a 4 week period, recording the times she used the internet for work and private purposes.

Suzette's internet use diary showed 10% of her internet usage was for work-related activities and 90% was for private use. As her internet service provider charge for the year was $1,200, she can claim:

$1,200 × 0.10 = $120 as work-related internet use.

If there was anyone else that accesses the internet connection, Suzette must reduce her claim to account for their use.

End of example

Removal and relocation expenses

You can’t claim a deduction for the cost to transfer or relocate to a new work location. This is the case whether the move is a condition of your existing job or you are taking up a new job.

Repairs to tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes you can only claim an amount for your work-related use.

Seat covers

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of seat covers you use in your bus for work. This is a private expense.

Self-education expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if it directly relates to your employment as a bus driver and at the time you incur the expense it:

  • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
  • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment.

You can't claim a deduction if at the time you incur the self-education expense it:

  • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
  • only relates in a general way to your current employment
  • enables you to get employment or change employment.

If your self-education expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course or tuition fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

If you study at home, you may also be able to claim working from home running expenses, but not occupancy expenses.

You can't claim a deduction for the repayments you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

  • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) (FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP)
  • VET Student Loans (VETSL)
  • Trade Support Loan Program (TSL)
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
  • Student Start-up Loan (SSL).

While course or tuition fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

Example: education doesn't maintain or improve specific skills or knowledge

Jennifer works as a bus driver for the local state high school. Her duties consist of picking up and dropping off students before and after school. She drives the bus as a part-time job while she is studying a Master of Transport logistics.

There is a general connection between the work she currently performs as a bus driver and her study. However, the duties she undertakes in her role as a bus driver don't relate to the specific knowledge she gains from her study.

She can't claim a deduction for the costs of obtaining her Master of Transport Logistics, as the course does not have a connection with her current employment.

End of example

 

Example: maintains or improves specific skills or knowledge

Cyril is a bus driver for an airport transfer service. His duties include collecting fares, giving change, generating tickets as well as assisting passengers with baggage. He enrols in a weekend training course on manual lifting in the workplace. The course provides him with knowledge on safely lifting, moving and securing luggage and directly ties into the work he does from day to day as a bus driver.

Cyril can claim a deduction for the cost of attending the training course, as it maintains and improves the skills and knowledge he needs for his current duties.

However, if Cyril's employer paid for or reimbursed him for the cost of attending the training course he would be unable to claim a deduction.

End of example

Seminars, conferences and training courses

You can claim for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as a bus driver.

The costs you can claim includes fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course, for example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion.

Stationery

You can claim a deduction for the cost of logbooks, diaries and pens that you use for work. For example, to record the behaviour of students or damage to vehicles.

You can't claim a deduction if your employer provides or reimburses you for these items.

Sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen

You can claim a deduction for the work-related use of sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen lotions if you:

  • must work in the sun for extended periods
  • use these items to protect you from the real and likely risk of illness or injury while at work.

This includes prescription sunglasses and anti-glare glasses.

You can only claim a deduction for the work-related use of the products if you also wear them for private purposes.

Example: deduction for sunglasses

Jay is a coach driver. His employer offers days trips to tourists. Jay buys a pair of sunglasses for $179 to protect his eyes from glare and sun damage while he is driving the coach.

Jay doesn't wear the sunglasses for private purposes. He leaves the sunglasses in his locker at the depot so he always has them for his shifts.

Jay can claim a deduction for the cost of sunglasses. He spends long periods of time driving in the sun and the sunglasses protect his eyes from the risk of injury.

End of example

For more bus driver expenses, see:

QC61150