With tax time just around the corner, pump the brakes and find out what transport and logistics employees can claim.
Check out these 4 tips from the Australian Taxation Office.
- Travel – You can claim a deduction for the costs you incur on accommodation, meals and incidentals when you travel for work, if you are required to take your mandatory long rest break and sleep away from your home overnight. You can’t claim a deduction for accommodation where you have not incurred any accommodation expenses. For example, accommodation provided by your employer or where a truck driver may sleep in their truck.
If you can claim a deduction for accommodation and incidentals you must get and keep written evidence, such as receipts for all of those expenses. Receiving an allowance from your employer doesn’t mean you can automatically claim a deduction. You still need to show you were away overnight, you spent the money, and the travel was directly related to earning your income.
- Drivers licence – You cannot claim a deduction for the cost of acquiring or renewing your drivers licence. Your driver’s licences is a private expense, even if driving is an essential part of your employment and you must have a licence as a condition of your employment. You can, however, claim a deduction for additional costs you incur to obtain a special licence or condition on your driver’s licence in order to perform your duties.
For example, Rhonda is a long-haul truck driver who needs a driver’s licence and a heavy vehicle permit to work. Her driver’s licence renewal costs her $45 per year and it costs $73 to apply for the heavy vehicle permit. The $45 to renew Rhonda’s licence is not deductible because it is a private expense. The cost of the heavy vehicle permit ($73) is deductible as it is an additional expense she incurs to fulfil her work responsibilities.
- Medical and compulsory assessments – You can claim the cost of compulsory checks and medical assessments required to maintain your employment – for example, a working with children check.
You can’t claim the cost of compulsory checks and assessments to get a job, even if they are a condition of your employment. For example, a bus driver who is required to undertake a pre-employment medical examination.
- Phone and internet – You can claim a deduction for the phone and internet costs associated with the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices.
You need to keep records to show your work use. You can’t claim a deduction if your employer provides you with a phone for work and pays for the usage, or if your employer reimburses you for the costs. You can’t claim a deduction for any phone calls to family and friends, even while you’re travelling for work.
Remember, if you want to claim a work-related expense:
- you must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed by your employer
- the expense must directly relate to how you earn your income
- you must have a record to prove the expense.
To manage your tax affairs on the go, download the ATO app which provides information and tools all in one place. This includes myDeductions, a useful way to keep track of your records throughout the year, download the app at ato.gov.au/app.
For more information about what you can and can’t claim during tax time, go to ato.gov.au/occupation21 or call us, we can help you get the most out of your tax return.