Overnight Travel Expenses You Can Not Claim

(last updated 26/03/2014)


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Construction and other workers often incur expenses relating to accomodation, meals and "incidentals" in performing their duties. You cannot claim a deduction for these travel expenses if any of the following apply:
  • your employer reimburses your expenses
  • you get a job that results in you having to incur travel expenses because you choose not to relocate
  • you live away from your usual home to perform your work.
For details of what can be claimed see our checklist of eTax and Allowable Deductions.

If you live away from home to perform your work, you may receive a living-away-from-home allowance from your employer. Because you cannot claim a deduction for your expenses, your employer must pay fringe benefits tax on the allowance (FBT does not apply for "remote areas") and you do not need to include the allowance on your income tax return.

Your employer should not show the allowance on your payment summary. If it appears on your payment summary, check with your employer that it has not been shown by mistake - ie. This is not an assessable allowance against which an overnight travel deduction can be claimed. See our checklist of eTax and Assessable Income.

Example
Joe lives in the city and applied for a job to work on a large construction project near a country town. He is paid an allowance to meet his accommodation and meal costs. As Joe applied for the job in the country town and has chosen not to relocate, he is not entitled to a deduction for his expenses. Joe's allowance is a living-away-from-home allowance that his employer must pay fringe benefits tax on. The allowance should not be shown on Joe's payment summary.

NOTE ==> In some cases workers have claimed the gap between the Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA), subject to FBT, and the ATO allowed deduction for overnight expenses for accomodation, meals and incidentals. This "gap" expense is not an allowable deduction and could attract an audit from the ATO.

For help with your eTax return see our eTax Return Checklist.

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