• Other travel expenses

    Other travel expenses you may be able to claim include:

    • travel expenses you incurred for meals, accommodation and incidentals while away overnight for work, such as going to an interstate work conference (generally, you can't claim for meals if your travel did not involve an overnight stay)
    • the costs you actually incur (such as fuel costs) when using a borrowed car or a vehicle other than a car for work purposes
    • air, bus, train, tram and taxi fares
    • car-hire fees.

    You may have to show that you have reduced your claim to exclude any private portion of your trip.

    If your travel expenses are reimbursed you cannot claim a deduction.

    Watch

     

    Duration 1m19s. A transcript of Need to claim overnight work-related expenses is also available.

    If you receive a travel allowance

    If you are paid a travel allowance:

    • you must declare the allowance on your tax return as income
    • you are entitled to claim a deduction for the actual expenses you incur, less any private component.

    If you get paid an allowance for some travel expenses (including overtime meal allowances, and domestic and overseas travel allowances), you do not have to keep written evidence of your expenses provided your claim does not exceed the reasonable allowance amount we set for each year.

    If you want to claim more than the reasonable allowance amount we set, you need to keep evidence of your expenditure.

    See also:

    Examples of travel expenses

    Example 1 – Allowances listed on payment summary

    William works for a company in Sydney. William’s employer requires him to visit clients located in country New South Wales twice per month (ie every second week). This involves William sleeping away from his home for around three to four nights every second week.

    William’s employer pays him an allowance of $150 per night to cover accommodation, meal and incidental expenses and includes the allowance on his payment summary.

    As William’s employer has shown the travel allowance on his payment summary, he must include that allowance in his assessable income on his tax return. William can claim a deduction for the amount he spends on meals and accommodation without providing receipts or other written evidence, as long as his claim does not exceed the reasonable allowance amount. If William wishes to claim more than the reasonable allowance amount, he will need to provide written evidence for all his expenses.

    William cannot automatically claim the reasonable amount as a deduction just because he has received an allowance. He can only claim the amount he spends on accommodation, meal and incidental expenses.

    Even if William does rely on the exception from providing receipts or other written evidence, he may still be required to show the basis for determining the amount of his claim, that he spent the money, and that it was for work-related purposes.

    End of example

     

    Example 2 – Allowances not listed on payment summary

    Assume William from Example 1 received an allowance of $150 per night from his employer to cover his accommodation, meal and incidental expenses and that William’s employer does not show the allowance on his payment summary.

    William is not required to include the amount as assessable income on his tax return provided he has spent the entire amount and is not seeking to claim any excess. As the allowance is not included in William’s assessable income he is not entitled to claim a deduction for the amount he spends on accommodation, meal and incidental expenses.

    End of example

     

    Example 3 – Work vs private

    Assume William from Example 1 travels to Wagga Wagga on one of the trips he takes to visit clients and decides to stay two extra nights in order to visit his sister. William stays at his sister’s house for the two extra nights he spends in Wagga Wagga and his employer does not pay him an allowance for those nights.

    As William’s trip to Wagga Wagga is for a work-related purpose as well as a private purpose, he must reduce his claim to exclude any private portion. The nights William spends in Wagga Wagga visiting his sister do not relate to his work duties. Accordingly, he is unable to claim a deduction for any money he spends on meal or incidental expenses while he is staying with his sister. However, he can still claim a deduction for the amount he spends on accommodation, meals and incidentals during the period he is visiting clients in Wagga Wagga.

    End of example

     

    Example 4 – Deductions for a decline in value

    Michelle works for a company in Brisbane. In order to service a number of country-based clients Michelle travels on average every few weeks. The duration of her trips is approximately three days but can extend up to approximately two weeks. Michelle normally stays at any given town for only one or two nights per week. Michelle is required to meet her travel costs as her salary has been increased to cover such trips. Michelle owns a caravan and uses it as accommodation and as an office when she travels. The caravan is never used by Michelle for private purposes.

    As Michelle is required to sleep away from her home overnight for work purposes, it is considered that her caravan is used for a taxable purpose. Michelle is therefore entitled to claim a deduction for the decline in value of the caravan. She is also entitled to a deduction for the amount she spends on meals and incidentals during the period she is travelling away from home for work purposes.

    End of example

     

    Example 5 – Claiming deductions without receipts

    Assume Michelle from Example 4, instead of having an increased salary, received an allowance from her employer of $140 per night to cover accommodation, meal and incidental expenses. The allowance is included on Michelle’s payment summary. When Michelle arrives in a country area, she purchases food so she can eat breakfast in the caravan each morning. Occasionally, she also cooks dinner for herself in the kitchen in her caravan.

    As Michelle’s employer has shown the travel allowance on her payment summary, she must include that allowance in her assessable income on her tax return. Michelle cannot automatically claim the reasonable amount as a deduction just because she has received an allowance. Michelle can only claim a deduction for the decline in value of her caravan and the amount she spends on food, meals eaten out and incidentals.

    If the amount of her claim is not more than the reasonable allowance amount, Michelle can make a claim without providing receipts or other written evidence in respect of her meals, caravan park rental and incidentals. She will need to retain records in respect of her caravan. However, she may still be required to show the basis for determining the amount of the meals, caravan park rental and incidentals claimed, that the money was spent, and that it was for work-related purposes.

    End of example

     

    Example 6 – Private travel is not deductable

    Max and Doris have retired from full-time work and spend their time travelling around Australia. They use their caravan as accommodation while they are travelling. When Max and Doris need some extra money, they work as fruit pickers for a couple of weeks at a time.

    During the year of income, Max and Doris spend 42 weeks travelling around Australia and ten weeks working at several different farms.

    Max and Doris are not entitled to a deduction for the decline in value of their caravan or for any amounts they spend on meals, caravan park rental and incidentals during the ten week period they spent working. The caravan is not used for a taxable purpose and the meal, caravan park rental and incidental expenses are private in nature.

    End of example
    Last modified: 28 Jun 2016QC 31982