Suitable for: Employees who incurred travel expenses during a financial year
Tax Difficulty: Easy
Time to read: 2-3 minutes
Tax Focus: Income Tax Returns
If you travel during the course of your employment in a financial year, you may be able to claim a deduction for a range of expenses you may incur for this purpose. In this Help Centre article, we’ll introduce you to the types of expenses that you may be able to claim in your tax return - as well as some important exclusions to keep in mind.
*** Important note for sole traders: If you are a sole trader and incur travel expenses for a business purpose, this section of the tax return may not be relevant to you. The travel expenses section listed on the Deductions page of the Airtax tax return (shown above) is reserved only for travel expenses incurred as part of your employment (to earn salary and wages income). If you did not incur any travel expenses for the purposes of work employment, do not complete this section.
When can I claim travel expenses on my tax return?
If you travel for work purposes, outside of regular travel between home and your regular place of work, you can claim a deduction for travel expenses you incur.
Some examples of travel expenses include:
- Meals, accommodation, and incidentals paid for whilst away overnight for work. For example, going away for an interstate work conference.
- NOTE: generally you aren’t able to claim a deduction for meals if your journey did not involve an overnight stay.
- Any fuel costs you pay for whilst using a borrowed car or any other work vehicle
- Any air, bus, tram and taxi fares incurred
- Bridge and road tolls
- Car parking and car-hire fees
If you had any personal use for these expenses, you need to reduce the amount you claim in your tax return by this personal use portion.
What you can’t claim:
- Any speeding fines, or parking infringements you incur whilst away for work
- Any travel expenses that your employer has directly reimbursed you for
How do I account for travel expenses on the Airtax tax return?
Simply total up your work-related travel expenses for the financial year and include this amount in the Travel Expenses section, as above.
What if my employer pays me a travel allowance?
If you are paid a travel allowance, you need to list this allowance as income on the income page of the Tax Return. You then need to input the total amount of the travel expenses you actually incurred for the financial year in the “Travel Expenses” section on the Deductions page.
Below is an example of an individual who received a $500 travel allowance from their employer, and actually incurred $800 of work-related travel expenses during the financial year.
What you’ve learned:
- The various types of travel allowances that you may be able to claim on your tax return as an employee
- How to record these expenses on your Airtax tax return
- What to do if you’re paid an allowance for travel expenses by your employer.