Claiming work related car expenses on my tax return

(last updated 27/03/2014)

Related Posts:
Tax Warning - Travel relating to transporting bulky or heavy tools and equipment is on the ATO's 2014 hit list - see our post ATO's 2014 Hit List of Tax Deductions.

This is a question we are asked often. Here is a checklist of what you can and can't claim for motor vehicle or car expenses and the different methods of claiming the deduction.

4 Ways of claiming car expenses

The following is a checklist of the 4 differnt methods of claiming motor vehicle or car expenses:

Travel between home and work:

What you can claim!

You can claim the cost of travel between home and work if:
  • Bulky Tool and or Equipment - you used your car to transport bulky tools or equipment that you use for work AND could not leave at work. This means, where you employer does not supply a secure environment, and you must transport your tools to/from work and home, you can claim the cost of travel from home to work as an allowable tax deduction. We make these claims for many trades people.
  • Home as Basis of Employment - your home is a base of employment and you travel from your home (as work place) to another location to continue your work. A typical example is a sales representative who works from home, travels directly to and from clients and may visit the employer's office occasionally.
  • Shifting Places of Employment - you have shifting places of employment and you regularly work at more than one site each day before going home. A typical example is a cleaner who travels to multiple job sites each day and travel from one place of employment to another (eg second job).
  • travel from your normal workplace to an alternative workplace.
What you can't claim:

You can not claim travel between work and home where:

1. you did minor tasks - eg picking up mail on your way to work.
2. traveling between home and work twice in one day.
3. on call duties.
4. there was no public transport near your work.
5. you work outside normal working hours
6. you home was a place of business and you travelled directly to a place of employment.

If you receive a car allowance from your employer it will need to be shown as assessable income.  See this post for a checklist of eTax Return and Assessable income.


FREE fact sheet on claiming car expenses ==> Claiming a Deduction for Car Expenses.

E-tax Return

See these posts with tips, calculators and checklists to help you prepare your eTax Return (and get a better refund) with less hassle:
For help with your eTax return see our eTax Return Checklist.

Web Based Tax Return App:

A benefit of using eZtax, our web based tax return app, is we have the genuine online tools, knowledge and experience to get the best tax refund for our clients, making it easy to complete your annual tax return online.

Our Web Based Tax Return App will step you through all the necessary questions to increase your  tax refund and take into account all relevant tax deductions and tax offsets. Try it now. Its FREE to get started! 

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