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Work Related Travel Expenses – Interstate

Claiming for work related travel expenses will apply, for example, while being away overnight for work due to an interstate work conference. These expenses must be incurred directly related to one’s work as an employee, self-employed or a partner, although one’s should keep in mind that motor vehicle expenses must be claimed separately.

Work related travel expenses include:

1.     Public Transport: Air Travel, Taxi Fares.
2.     Bridge and road tools, parking fees and short-term car hire.
3.     Meal, accommodation and incidental expenses that the employee incurs while away     overnight to work.
4.     Expenses for motorcycles and vehicles with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or nine or more passengers.
5.     Actual expenses (such as any petrol, oil and repair costs) that the employee incurs to travel in a car that is owned or leased by someone else.

A travel diary or similar document must be maintained for travel within Australia if the employee is travelling away from their ‘ordinary residence’ for six nights or more.

As a general rule, no written evidence and no travel records are required for travel within Australia if the employee receives a travel allowance and claim no more than the amount considered reasonable by the tax office.

If no travel allowance is received by an employee from their employer, or the employee claims more than the amount considered reasonable by the Tax Office all travel expenses must be substantiated. Written records must be obtained for all expenses for accommodation, food and drink and incidental expenses incurred for travel away from an employee’s ordinary residence, in the course of their duties.

This written evidence must contain:

1.     Name (or business name) of the supplier;
2.     amount of the expense;
3.     nature of the goods or services;
4.     date it was incurred; and
5.     date the document was made out.

As a general rule, an allowance is treated as being in respect of travel if the period away does not exceed 21 days. For longer periods, the payment may be a living away from home allowance.

In conclusion, a work related travel expenses has no upper threshold. The only thing is that if it is above the reasonable amount for allowance purposes it must be substantiated with written evidence.

Author:  Ohad Ladany
Source: 2011 & 2012 Tax Summary, 92nd edition, Taxpayers Australia Inc.

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