Claiming car expenses

What you can claim

Did you know you may be able to claim the cost of your car when travelling when:

  • You travel between two separate workplaces – like having two jobs or between two branches
  • from your normal workplace to an alternative workplace (for example, a client's premises) while still on duty, and back to your normal workplace or directly home
  • if your home was a base of employment – that is, you started your work at home and traveled to a workplace to continue your work for the same employer
  • if you had shifting places of employment – that is, you regularly worked at more than one site each day before returning home
  • from your home to an alternative workplace for work purposes, and then to your normal workplace or directly home
  • if you needed to carry bulky tools or equipment that you used for work and couldn't leave at your workplace – for example, an extension ladder or a cello. Your employer requires you to bring your tools and the ATO may ask you to prove your employers requires you to bring your own tools.

When you can't claim

You can't claim the cost of driving your car between work and home when:

  • Just driving to and from work, or your car parking fees.
  • you do minor work-related tasks – for example, picking up the mail on the way to work or home
  • you have to drive between your home and your workplace more than once a day
  • you are on call – for example, you are on stand-by duty and your employer contacts you at home to come into work
  • there is no public transport near where you work
  • you work outside normal business hours – for example, shift work or overtime
  • your home was a place where you ran your own business and you traveled directly to a place of work where you worked for somebody else
  • you do some work at home.

The two most common ways to claim car expenses

These are the only two methods allowable from 1/7/2015

Cents per kilometre method

  • Your claim is based on a set rate for each business kilometre.
  • You can claim a maximum of 5,000 business kilometres.
  • You don't need written evidence but you need to be able to show how you worked out your business kilometres (for example, by producing diary records of work-related trips).
  • Recapping you do not need to keep fuel and other car running receipts.
  • If you claim this way the generous rate per km means you just claim your kms times by the rate according to your engine size. You do not claim in addition to this fuel or other car running costs.

Where you and another joint owner use the car for separate income-producing purposes, you can both claim up to a maximum of 5,000 kilometres.

Logbook method

  • Your claim is based on the business-use percentage of the expenses for the car.
  • Expenses include running costs and decline in value but not capital costs, such as the purchase price of your car, the principal on any money borrowed to buy it and any improvement costs.
  • To work out your business-use percentage, you need a logbook and the odometer readings for the logbook period.
  • You need odometer reading at start say 11000
  • You need odometer read at end of three months say 21000
  • So say your total kms are 10000
  • You must also write each work related or business trip in your logbook. You should then have a total work related or business km total say 7000.
  • Your work related or business kms 7000 divided by your total kms 10000 will give you your work related or business % of use of the car – in this case 70%
  • You can claim fuel and oil costs based on either your actual receipts or you can estimate the expenses based on odometer records that show readings from the start and the end of the period you had the car during the year at the percentage your logbook has demonstrated. Eg 70%
  • You need written evidence for all other expenses for the car.
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Call us now for a hassle free way to maximise your car travel claims with an appointment on 8337 4460.