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Bus driver expenses T–W

Last updated 7 June 2023

Details on claiming bus driver expenses.

Tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment if you use them to perform your duties as a bus driver. For example, a GPS used by a charter bus driver.

You can only claim the work-related use of the item.

If a tool or item of equipment cost you $300 or less, you can claim a deduction for the full amount in the year you buy it, if:

  • you use it mainly for work purposes
  • it's not part of a set that together cost more than $300.

You can claim a deduction for the cost over the life of the item (that is, decline in value), if the tool or equipment:

  • cost more than $300
  • is part of a set that together cost more than $300.

If you bought the tool or item of equipment part way through the year, you can only claim a deduction for the decline in value for the period of the income year that you own it. To work out your deduction use the Depreciation and capital allowances tool.

You can also claim a deduction for the cost of repairs to tools and equipment that you use for work purposes.

You can't claim a deduction for tools and equipment that your employer or third party supplies for use.

Travel expenses

You can claim a deduction for travel 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, driving a two-day bus tour group from Newcastle to Canberra and having to sleep away from your home overnight.

You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses where you don't incur any expenses, because:

  • you sleep 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 entitle you to a deduction. In all cases, you must be able to show:

  • you were away overnight
  • you spent the money
  • the travel directly relates to earning your employment income
  • how you calculate 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 in your work diary that you received and correctly declared your travel allowance and bank statements.

Example: travel away from home overnight

Jules is a bus driver. She lives in Sydney and usually transports primary school children to and from school each day. Each year Jules drives the school children to Mt Hotham for a 3 day snow trip with the school.

Jules can claim a deduction for the cost of her accommodation, meals and incidental expenses she incurs while travelling away from her home overnight in the course of performing her employment duties.

Jules can't claim a deduction if her employer pays for or reimburses her for these expenses.

End of example

For more information, see TD 2022/10 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2022-23

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.

For more bus driver expenses, see:

QC61150