Travel

Work Related Travel Expenses – Boost Your Tax Refund!

Are you aware that your work-related travel expenses could put more money back in your pocket at tax time? In this article, we will explain how you can claim your travel expenses as legitimate deductions on your tax return. Let’s dive in!

What qualifies as a work-related travel expense?

If you travel for work, any purchases you make related to that travel can usually be claimed as a work-related travel expense. This includes a wide range of expenses, such as accommodation, incidental expenses, fares for air, bus, train, and taxi/rideshare, bridge and road tolls, parking fees, car hire charges, meals, and bags used solely for work travel.

Boost your tax refund with deductible travel expenses!

The following travel-related expenses can be tax-deductible if you are eligible to claim them:

  • Accommodation
  • Incidental expenses (such as laundry)
  • Fares for air, bus, train, and taxi/rideshare
  • Bridge and road tolls
  • Parking fees
  • Car hire charges
  • Meals (if your travel included an overnight stay)
  • Bags used only for work travel
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Can I claim work-related driving costs or public transport?

Transport costs are one of the most common travel tax deductions. You can claim work-related travel in your own car or on public transport, with a few exceptions. However, you cannot claim travel from home to work or vice versa.

Allowable claims include:

  • Travel between two separate workplaces (or jobs).
  • Travel from your workplace to offsite meetings or events.
  • Travel between your workplace and your home if you work from home for part of the day.
  • Travel from your home to an alternative workplace if required.
  • Travel between multiple locations for the same employer.

You cannot claim:

  • The cost of travel from home to your everyday place of work (and back again).
  • Errands on the way to or from work.
  • Overtime or out-of-hours work.
  • Travel from your home to a different location to work another job.

Is car parking a travel expense?

Yes, you can claim work-related parking expenses as long as the trip you took fits the allowable claims mentioned earlier. For example, if you pay for parking to attend an out-of-office company meeting or event and use your own car, you can claim the trip and parking costs. However, normal, everyday parking near your workplace cannot be claimed.

Important: You cannot claim any car or parking expenses if you were reimbursed by your employer.

Do I need to keep a travel diary?

If you are away from home for more than 6 consecutive nights, you should keep a travel diary to record your activities, locations, and start and end times. Even if you don’t have to keep a diary, it’s a good idea to keep a record of your travel and expenses. It’s easy to forget details that could affect your refund at tax time.

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What about my travel allowance? Is it taxable?

If you receive a travel allowance from your employer, it is usually considered taxable income. However, if you spent the money you were paid as a travel allowance on work-related expenses, you can claim a tax deduction for those expenses. Remember, you can only claim the total amount you spent on work-related travel, not the entire allowance.

Important: Only claim travel deductions for which you have evidence, as the tax authorities may ask for proof.

What travel records should I keep?

You should keep ALL travel expense records and receipts, even if you receive an allowance. This will help ensure you claim every deduction you are entitled to at tax time. It’s also a good idea to photograph your receipts or other purchase records and keep everything organized in one folder.

Splitting expenses between work and leisure travel

If your travel includes both work and leisure, you need to appropriately split your expenses between the two. The primary purpose of your trip must be work-related, and you can only claim expenses that are directly related to your work.

For example, if you attend a conference for five days and then spend two additional days sightseeing, you can claim accommodation costs, transportation fares to and from the conference, and meals for the five work-related days. However, you cannot claim expenses related to the leisure portion of your trip.

FAQs

Please note that these FAQs do not constitute legal or financial advice. For specific situations, consult a qualified professional.

  1. Can I claim travel expenses for my partner or children?
    No, travel or accommodation costs for your partner or children cannot be claimed.

  2. Can I claim expenses for add-on personal trips during work travel?
    No, any personal trips that are not directly related to your work travel cannot be claimed.

  3. Can I claim expenses for attending work events while on holiday?
    No, if the primary purpose of your trip is a holiday rather than business, you cannot claim any travel or accommodation costs for work-related events during that trip.

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Conclusion

By understanding what qualifies as a work-related travel expense and keeping accurate records, you can maximize your tax refund. Remember to consult with your accountant for personalized advice and guidance. Start organizing your travel expense records today to save time and money in the future. Happy travels and happy tax filing!

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