Are your tax deductions built like a Mack Truck? With tax time just around the corner, pump the brakes before you claim and find out what transport and logistics employees can claim.
Check out these three tips from the Australian Taxation Office
If travel is an essential part of your role, 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, because you sleep in your truck or sleep in accommodation provided by your employer.
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. Even if you receive a travel allowance and can rely on the exception from providing written evidence for meals, you may still be required to show the basis of your claim, including when you travelled away overnight for work, that you spent money on meals, how you calculated your claim and the allowance was included in your income.
2. Drivers licence
You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of acquiring or renewing your drivers licence. Your drivers licence 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 licence in order to perform your duties.
For example, Rhonda is a long-haul truck driver who needs a drivers licence and a heavy vehicle permit to work. Her drivers 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.
3. 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. This is because they aren’t work-related calls.
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 be directly related 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