Work-related daily travel expenses you can claim
Travel expenses that you claim must directly relate to your work as an employee. These expenses may include:
- work-related car expenses
- expenses for motorcycles and vehicles with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or nine or more passengers
- actual expenses - such as any petrol, oil and repair costs if you travel in a car that is owned or leased by someone else
- public transport - including taxi fares
- bridge and road tolls
- parking fees
- short-term car hire.
Generally, the cost of normal trips between home and work is a private expense that you cannot claim an income tax deduction for. However, as an employee, there are certain situations where you may be able to claim deductions for travel between your home and workplace.
Transporting bulky equipment and tools
You can claim the cost of using your car to travel between your home and work if all of the following apply:
- you have to carry bulky equipment or tools you need to use at work
- it is essential to transport the equipment or tools to and from work and it is not done as a matter of convenience or personal choice
- there is no secure storage area at your workplace.
You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of transporting your luggage to and from the airport as this is a private expense.
Travelling between workplaces
Work-related daily travel expenses also include the cost of travel:
- directly between two separate workplaces - for example, when you have a second job (see example 1)
- from your normal workplace to an alternative workplace while you are still on duty, and back to your normal workplace or directly home (see example 2 and example 3.)
- from your home to an alternative workplace, and then to your normal workplace or directly home.
Example 1 – travelling directly between two separate workplaces
Mia is a flight attendant who has a second job at a supermarket, where she works in the mornings. On most days, Mia travels directly from the supermarket to the airport to start her afternoon shift with ABC Airlines. Mia can claim the cost of her travel from the supermarket to her second job at the airport.
On occasion, Mia finishes work early at the supermarket, and has time to go home and change into her uniform for her shift at ABC Airlines. On these occasions, Mia is not entitled to claim the cost of her travel from the supermarket to home, and from home to the airport, as she has not travelled directly from one job to the other.
Example 2 – travel for training that you can claim
David was recently designated as a first-aid person to assist in emergency work situations. He travels from the airport to attend a first-aid training course while still on duty and then travels directly home.
The cost of the journey from the airport to the first-aid training course and then home is an allowable deduction. David is also allowed a deduction for the cost of the training course if he is not reimbursed for the amount.
Example 3 – travelling from main workplace to alternate workplace
Jo works for ABC Airlines and one day per month is required to travel from her airport office to the city to give management an update of her team's performance. These meetings usually last three hours and then she returns to her office at the airport.
The cost of the round trip from the airport to the city office and back to the airport is work related and the cost of the journey she incurred would be tax deductible. For example, if she used a taxi and was not reimbursed for the fare, the taxi fare she paid for would be tax deductible. If she used her own car, she can claim her car expense by using the cents per kilometre method for the number of kilometres she travelled in this trip.
Example 4 – travel that you cannot claim
Maria works for Quality Airlines and is regularly employed at one workplace some days and at another workplace on other days. In both cases, the workplaces are considered to be the normal workplaces where Maria performs her normal duties. The cost of travel between home and the workplaces is not an allowable deduction.
If you travel to and from a place of education because you are completing a work-related education course, you may be entitled to claim the travel costs as a self-education expense at label D4 - Self-education expenses on your income tax return.
End of example
How to claim your car expenses
If you are entitled to claim a deduction for your work-related car expenses, there are two methods you can use to work out the amount you can claim.
The four methods are the:
Cents per kilometre method
When working out your deduction using the cents per kilometre method, you:
- can only claim up to the first 5,000 work kilometres you travel
- do not need receipts or other written evidence but we may ask you how you worked out your estimate of work kilometres, for example, by
- using a diary of work-related travel
- basing your costs on a regular pattern of travel.
Example 5 – cents per kilometre method
Maureen travels five kilometres each day while carrying out work-related activities. She worked Monday to Friday for 48 weeks during the 2016 income year. It would be reasonable for Maureen to calculate her work kilometres in the following way:
5 (km) x 5 (days) x 48 (weeks) = 1,200 work kilometres for the 2016 income year.
End of example
The logbook method provides a way of working out the percentage of your car use that is for work purposes. You can then claim a deduction for this percentage of each car expense you incur.
When using the logbook method, you must keep all of the following:
- A logbook. To work out the percentage of your car use that was for work purposes your logbook must cover a period of 12 weeks and is valid for five years.
- Odometer records. Record your opening and closing odometer readings for each year you use the logbook method.
- Written evidence for all your car expenses. You can use your odometer records to estimate your fuel and oil costs instead of keeping receipts.
Your logbook must contain the following information:
- when the logbook period starts and ends
- the car's odometer readings at the start and end of the logbook period
- the total number of kilometres you travelled in the car during the logbook period
- the number of kilometres you travelled in the car for each work-related journey - if you made two or more journeys in a row on the same day, you can record them as a single journey
- the percentage of your car use that was for work purposes during the logbook period.
If you work out the percentage you used your car for work purposes using a logbook from an earlier year, you need to keep the logbook for each year you use the logbook method, satisfying the above criteria.
Parking fees and tolls
A deduction is allowable for parking fees (but not fines) and tolls if the expenses are incurred while you are travelling:
- between two separate places of work
- to a place of education for work-related self-education purpose (if the self-education expenses are deductible)
- in the normal course of duty and the travelling expenses are allowable deductions.
Otherwise, the cost of that travel is a private expense and the parking fees and tolls are not claimable.
If your employer has business or associated premises and you park in the vicinity of those premises for more than four hours a day, your parking expenses may not be allowable.
Work-related daily travel expenses you cannot claim
Unless you meet the conditions outlined in Work-related daily travel expenses you can claim, generally the cost of normal trips between home and work is a private expense you cannot claim a deduction for, even if:
- you work outside normal business hours - for example, shift work or overtime
- you are on call
- you do minor tasks such as picking up your airline uniform from the dry-cleaners on the way to work or home
- you live a long distance from work
- there is no public transport available, so you use a car.
The expenses you incur to travel between your home and work are still private expenses where:
- you work partly from your home, and
- your home is not your place of business.
Example 6 – travel between home and work
Jenny works for a regional airline and is required to be on standby. She regularly checks-in with her employer via the internet and mobile phone and occasionally is contacted at home after regular hours for shiftwork or to attend to other matters.
Although Jenny is at home on standby, her travel between home and work is considered private travel and cannot be claimed as a deduction.
End of example