• Work-related overnight travel expenses

    For information on the rules that you need to check and records you need to keep, watch the YouTube video Need to claim overnight work-related expenses?

     

    Duration 1:18. A transcript of Need to claim overnight work-related expenses? is also available.

    You can claim a deduction for overnight travel expenses where:

    • your employer requires you to travel to a worksite to perform work
    • you are required to sleep away from home for one or more nights while you are doing that work
    • you are not living away from home.

    Travel expenses include:

    • meals
    • accommodation
    • incidental expenses

    If you are claiming travel expenses and you received a travel allowance from your employer, you must record the allowance as income at 2 Allowances, earnings, tips, directors fees etc on your tax return.

    See also:

    Overnight travel expenses you cannot claim

    You cannot claim a deduction for the travel expenses you incur if:

    • your employer reimburses your expenses, or
    • you live away from your usual home to perform your work.

    If you live away from home to perform your work, you may receive a living-away-from-home allowance from your employer. A living-away-from-home allowance is paid to cover your additional accommodation and meal costs when you are temporarily required to live away from your usual place of residence in order to perform your duties of employment. A living-away-from-home allowance is not income and you cannot claim deductions for your accommodation and meal costs at the temporary work location.

    Your employer should not show a living-away-from-home allowance on your payment summary. If it appears on your payment summary, check with your employer that it has not been shown by mistake.

    Example 10

    Joe is a project manager. He lives in the city with his family and applied for a job to work on a large construction project near a country town for 12 months. He is paid a living-away-from-home allowance by the construction company to meet his accommodation and meal costs in the country town.

    The allowance is not income and should not be shown on Joe's payment summary, and Joe cannot claim a deduction for his accommodation and meal costs in the country town.

    End of example

    Keeping records of your overnight travel expenses

    Expenses for which you do not have to keep records

    You can claim a deduction for the amount you spent on travel expenses without keeping all your records if:

    • you received a travel allowance to cover your accommodation, or meals or expenses incidental to the travel (a token amount paid as a travel allowance is not accepted as reasonably covering such costs)
    • your travel expenses were equal to or less than the reasonable allowance amount we set (see below).

    However, we may ask you to explain how you worked out the amount you claimed.

    If the allowance is not shown on your payment summary and was not more than the reasonable allowance amount, you do not have to show it on your tax return as long as you:

    • spent the entire allowance on deductible expenses, and
    • are not claiming the deduction.

    Otherwise, you must show the allowance on your tax return.

    We set the reasonable allowance amount for your circumstances in an annual taxation determination that explains:

    • when you do not need evidence of your expenses
    • the way in which you can claim expenses.

    The receipt of a travel allowance does not mean that you can automatically claim the reasonable allowance amount set out in the annual taxation determination. You can only claim the amount you actually spend on accommodation, meals and incidental expenses.

    Example 11

    Antoni travels from Adelaide to Mt Gambier for a job. He is away from home for five nights. His employer pays him a travel allowance of $110 per night for accommodation, meals and incidentals. The allowance is not shown on his payment summary.

    The travel allowance amount paid to Antoni is less than the reasonable allowance amount and Antoni spends all of the travel allowance on his travel expenses.

    Antoni chooses not to include his allowance on his tax return because:

    • it is less than the reasonable allowance amount
    • it is not shown on his payment summary
    • he spends it all to cover his travel expenses.

    This means Antoni cannot claim a deduction for his expenses on his tax return.

    End of example

    Expenses for which you must keep records

    If you are claiming more than the reasonable allowance amount, you must keep records to show the full amount you spent, not just the amount over the limit. These records include:

    • a travel diary if your travel is six or more nights in a row – that is, a document that shows the dates, places, times and duration of your activities and travel
    • invoices, receipts or other documents showing your travel expense details. If it is too difficult to get a receipt for a meal you purchased – for example, if you purchase a meal from a vending machine – you can keep diary entries as your proof of purchase.

    If you do not receive a travel allowance, you must keep all of your records.

    If you received a travel allowance that is more than the reasonable allowance amount, you must show the allowance as income at 2 Allowances, earnings, tips, directors fees etc on your tax return.

    Award transport payments (fares allowance)

    You can claim a deduction for expenses covered by award transport payments only if the expenses are for deductible work-related travel.

    See also:

      Last modified: 17 Aug 2017QC 24373