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  • Overtime meals

    You may need to declare overtime meal allowances you receive as income. If you meet all the conditions you can also claim a deduction for the cost of a meal.

    An overtime meal is a meal you buy and eat when you work overtime.

    You can claim a deduction for overtime meals without getting written evidence, if all the following apply, you:

    • receive an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or agreement
    • buy food and drink and eat while working overtime
    • only claim up to the reasonable amount.

    We set the reasonable amount each year that you can claim for overtime meal expenses without receipts. However, you can still only claim a deduction for the amount you have actually spent.

    If you claim more than the reasonable amount, you need to keep written evidence of all of your food and drink expenses. Not just written evidence for the excess amount.

    You can't claim a deduction where the overtime meal allowance amount is part of your salary and wages and not included as a separate allowance on your income statement.

    Overtime meal allowances

    Where you receive an overtime meal allowance and your employer includes the amount on your income statement, you need to declare it as income in your tax return.

    If your overtime meal allowance is not on your income statement and was not more than the reasonable allowance amount for each meal, you don't have to include the amount in your tax return, providing that you:

    • have fully spent the allowance
    • don't claim a deduction for overtime meal expenses.

    See also:

    • TD 2020/5 Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2020-21 income year?
    Last modified: 07 Jun 2021QC 31960