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Travel agent employee expenses T–W

Last updated 23 June 2023

Details on claiming common employee travel agent expenses.

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 your 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.

Tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for tools and equipment if you use them to perform your duties as an employee travel agent.

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

If the tool or 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 a third party supplies for use.

Example: equipment for a work-related purpose – deductible

Megan is a travel agent and spends a large part of her working day at her desk. Megan’s employer supplies staff with electronic sit-stand workstations to reduce the impact of sitting all day.

Megan buys an anti-fatigue sit-stand mat for $60 that her employer doesn’t provide or reimburse her for. Megan can claim an immediate deduction for the cost of the mat as it cost less than $300.

Megan takes a photo of the receipt and records the expense in the myDeductions tool in the ATO app.

End of example

Travel expenses

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

  • travel for work
  • sleep away from your home overnight in the course of performing your income producing activities.

Expenses you can claim include your accommodation, meals and expenses which are incidental to the travel (incidentals). You can't claim a deduction for accommodation where you don't incur any expenses, because:

  • 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.

You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses related to personal holidays, even if they are discounted by your employer. You can't claim a deduction for taking a friend or family member with you on work travel.

Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn’t automatically mean you can claim a deduction. In all cases, you must 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
  • meals
  • incidentals.

You don’t have to keep written evidence such as receipts if both 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: work-related travel with private travel component

Eleanor is a travel agent. Her employer holds an annual conference each year for all branches to attend. This year the conference is interstate and Eleanor’s employer pays for the cost of her flights and accommodation to attend. During the conference all meals are provided.

Eleanor decides to extend her stay and have a holiday. Eleanor can't claim a deduction for any of the expenses she incurs as she didn't pay for the work-related conference expenses and the costs to extend her stay are private.

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 income year?

Travel insurance

You can't claim a deduction for travel insurance even if your travel is work-related. Travel insurance is a private expense because policies cover items of a private nature, such as illness, loss of baggage and theft.

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.

Working from home expenses

You may be able to claim a deduction for working from home expenses you incur as an employee. These can be additional running expenses such as electricity, the decline in value of equipment or furniture, phone and internet expenses. You must:

  • use one of the methods set out by us to calculate your deduction
  • keep the records required for the method you choose.

There are some expenses you can't claim a deduction for as an employee. Employees who work at home can't claim costs:

  • for coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may provide you at work
  • for your children and their education including    
    • setting them up for online learning
    • teaching them at home
    • buying equipment such as iPads and desks
  • your employer pays for or reimburses you for the expense
  • for the decline in value of items provided by your employer – for example, a laptop or a phone.
  • Generally, as an employee, you can’t claim occupancy expenses (rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums), unless your home office is your only place of work because no other work location is provided by your employer
  • exclusively or almost exclusively used for work purposes.

You can’t claim a deduction if your employer paid for your home office to be set up or reimburses you for the expenses.

Use the Home office expenses calculator to help you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction.

For more information, see:

  • PS LA 2001/6 Verification approaches for home office and electronic device expenses
  • TR 93/30 Income tax: deductions for home office expenses
  • PCG 2023/1 Claiming a deduction for additional running expenses incurred while working from home - ATO compliance approach

For more employee travel agent expenses, see

QC19099