The taxpayer can claim travel expenses directly connected with their work. If their travel was partly private and partly for work, they can claim only the part that related to work.
Travel expenses they may be able to claim include meals, accommodation and incidental expenses incurred while travelling overnight for work – for example, going to an interstate work conference. Generally, if the travel does not involve an overnight stay, the taxpayer cannot claim for meals even if they received a travel allowance.
Other travel expenses that the taxpayer may be able to claim include air, bus, train, tram and taxi fares, bridge and road tolls, parking and car hire fees.
The taxpayer cannot claim a deduction for any expenses they incur for the direct operation of a car that their employer provides, which at any time is used privately by them or their relatives, even if the expenses are work related. Examples of direct operation expenses are petrol, oil and repairs. Such expenses form part of the operating costs of the car for fringe benefits tax purposes. However, they may be able to claim expenses linked to the car that are not related to its direct operation, such as parking fees and bridge tolls.
The taxpayer cannot claim the cost of normal trips between home and work as the expense is private. The travel is private and cannot be claimed even if:
the taxpayer did minor tasks – for example, picking up the mail on the way to work or home
they had to travel between home and work more than once a day
they were ‘on call’ – for example, the taxpayer was on stand-by duty and their employer contacted them at home to come into work
there was no public transport near where they work
they worked outside normal business hours – for example, shift work or overtime, or
the taxpayer’s home was a place of business and they travelled directly to a place of employment.
The taxpayer can claim for the cost of trips undertaken between home and work if:
they used their vehicle or had other travel expenses because they had to carry bulky tools or equipment that they used for work – for example, an extension ladder or cello
their home was a base of employment – the taxpayer started their work at home and travelled to a workplace to continue the work, or
they had shifting places of employment – the taxpayer regularly worked at more than one site each day before returning home. Taxation Ruling TR 95/34 – Employees carrying out itinerant work- deductions, allowances and reimbursements for transport expenses has more information on travel expenses for employees who have shifting places of employment.
The taxpayer can claim the cost of using their care to travel directly between two separate places of employment – for example, when they had a second job.