Fringe benefits tax: reasonable amounts under section 31G of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 for food and drink expenses incurred by employees receiving a living-away-from-home allowance fringe benefit for the fringe benefits tax year commencing on 1 April 2017
Please note that the PDF version is the authorised version of this ruling.
This publication provides you with the following level of protection:
This publication (excluding appendixes) is a public ruling for the purposes of the Taxation Administration Act 1953.
A public ruling is an expression of the Commissioner's opinion about the way in which a relevant provision applies, or would apply, to entities generally or to a class of entities in relation to a particular scheme or a class of schemes.
If you rely on this ruling, the Commissioner must apply the law to you in the way set out in the ruling (unless the Commissioner is satisfied that the ruling is incorrect and disadvantages you, in which case the law may be applied to you in a way that is more favourable for you - provided the Commissioner is not prevented from doing so by a time limit imposed by the law). You will be protected from having to pay any underpaid tax, penalty or interest in respect of the matters covered by this ruling if it turns out that it does not correctly state how the relevant provision applies to you.
1. This Determination sets out the amounts that the Commissioner considers reasonable under section 31G of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (FBTAA) for food and drink expenses incurred by employees receiving a living-away-from-home allowance (LAFHA) fringe benefit for the fringe benefits tax (FBT) year commencing on 1 April 2017.
2. Where the total of food and drink expenses for an employee (including eligible family members) does not exceed the amount the Commissioner considers reasonable, those expenses do not have to be substantiated under section 31G of the FBTAA. Where an employee receives a LAFHA fringe benefit, for the employer to reduce the taxable value of the fringe benefit by the exempt food component, the expenses must be either:
- equal to or less than the amount the Commissioner considers reasonable under paragraph 31G(1)(b), or
- substantiated in accordance with the requirements in subsection 31G(2).
Reasonable amount for food and drink - within Australia
4. Table 1 below sets out the weekly amounts the Commissioner considers to be reasonable food and drink amounts for a LAFHA paid to employees living away from home within Australia for the FBT year commencing on 1 April 2017. These amounts are for the total of food or drink expenses and include any amounts that may have been allowed for home consumption.
Table 1: Amounts of reasonable food and drink - within Australia
|One adult and one child||309|
|Two adults and one child||433|
|Two adults and two children||495|
|Two adults and three children||557|
|Three adults and one child||557|
|Three adults and two children||619|
('Adults' for this purpose are persons who had attained the age of 12 years before the beginning of the FBT year.)
- $124 for each additional adult, and
- $62 for each additional child.
Reasonable amounts for food and drink - overseas
6. The tables below set out the weekly amounts the Commissioner considers to be reasonable food and drink amounts for a LAFHA paid to employees living away from home outside Australia for the FBT year commencing on 1 April 2017. Table 2 sets out the cost group to which a county has been allocated. Table 3 sets out the reasonable amount for food and drink expenses for each cost group.
Table 2: List of Countries
For the amounts that apply to each cost group see Table 3.
|Country||Cost Group||Country||Cost Group|
|Antigua and Barbuda||5||Eritrea||3|
|China (includes Macau & Hong Kong)||5||Italy||5|
|Congo Democratic Republic||5||Japan||6|
|Pakistan||2||Trinidad and Tobago||5|
|Papua New Guinea||4||Turkey||3|
|Philippines||3||United Arab Emirates||5|
|Portugal||3||United States of America||5|
Table 3: Amounts by cost group
|Cost Group||Food and drink for one adult|
8. Where the employee is accompanied by other family members while overseas, the reasonable food and drink amount per week for the family is worked out by multiplying the amount shown in Table 3 by the relevant factor in Table 4 below.
Table 4: Factors to apply for family groups - overseas
|One adult and one child||1.25|
|Two adults and one child||1.75|
|Two adults and two children||2|
|Two adults and three children||2.25|
|Three adults and one child||2.25|
|Three adults and two children||2.5|
- for each additional adult by a further 50% of the relevant single adult rate in Table 3, and
- for each additional child by a further 25% of the relevant single adult rate in Table 3.
Example 1: calculation of reasonable amounts for food and drink - within Australia
10. Jasper, his wife and their two children (both under 12 years of age) temporarily move to Brisbane from Sydney for a period of 5 months (from 1 May 2017 to 30 September 2017; 21 weeks and 6 days) for Jasper to work on a project for his employer. Jasper receives a LAFHA from his employer.
12. If Jasper's family's total food and drink expenses for the period exceed $10,820, Jasper will have to substantiate all of the expenses incurred, or his employer will be liable to FBT on the amount of LAFHA paid to Jasper that is in excess of $10,820.
Example 2: calculation of reasonable amounts for food and drink - overseas
13. Maria is seconded from Australia to Canada by her employer for 25 weeks, starting work there on 1 April 2017. Maria agrees to temporarily move with her husband and child. Maria receives a LAFHA from her employer for the period of the secondment.
14. Maria does not need to substantiate her food and drink expenses if the total expenses do not exceed $19,125 [$765 per week multiplied by 25 weeks (Table 2 lists Canada as being in Cost Group 5, and using Table 3, the reasonable amount for food and drink is $437 per week. A factor of 1.75 for 2 adults and 1 child is applied to this rate as per Table 4)].
15. If Maria's total food and drink expenses for the period exceed $19,125, Maria will have to substantiate all of the expenses incurred, or her employer will be liable to FBT on the amount of LAFHA paid to Maria that is in excess of $19,125.
Date of effect
Commissioner of Taxation
29 March 2017
Appendix 1 - Explanation
|This Appendix is provided as information to help you understand how the Commissioner's view has been reached. It does not form part of the binding public ruling.|
17. This determination is intended to be read in conjunction with Taxation Determination TD 2013/4. TD 2013/4 sets out the amounts that the Commissioner considers reasonable under section 31G of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (FBTAA) for food and drink expenses incurred by employees receiving a living-away-from-home-allowance (LAFHA) fringe benefit for the fringe benefits tax year commencing on 1 April 2013. Reasonable amounts were determined for employees within Australia based on the 2009-10 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and indexed to take into account movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since the survey was completed. Reasonable amounts for employees overseas were determined by reference to the annual Taxation Determination which sets out reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts. For the FBT year commencing on 1 April 2017 reference is made to Taxation Determination TD 2016/13.
Reasonable amounts for food and drink - within Australia
18. In determining the reasonable amounts for food and drink for substantiation purposes for employees living away from home in Australia, reference was made to the publicly available 2009-10 HES. The HES food and drink expenditure (including alcoholic beverages) for households in the highest income quintile has been adopted. The HES amounts have been indexed to take into account movements in the food sub-group of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since the survey was completed, to determine the reasonable amounts for food and drink for FBT substantiation purposes.
Reasonable amounts for food and drink - overseas
19. As explained more fully in TD 2013/4 the reasonable amounts for food and drink for a LAFHA paid to employees living away from home outside Australia are based on the annual Taxation Determination which sets out reasonable travel allowance amounts. The most recent Determination, which sets amounts for the 2016-17 income year is Taxation Determination TD 2016/13.
You are free to copy, adapt, modify, transmit and distribute this material as you wish (but not in any way that suggests the ATO or the Commonwealth endorses you or any of your services or products).
Not previously issued as a draft
© Australian Taxation Office for the Commonwealth of Australia
You are free to copy, adapt, modify, transmit and distribute material on this website as you wish (but not in any way that suggests the ATO or the Commonwealth endorses you or any of your services or products).