The ATO has also released new guidance on work-related travel deductions. To claim for transport or other employee travel expenses (like accommodation and meals) in your tax return, you must have incurred the expenses as part of gaining or producing your taxable income. Private and domestic travel expenses, including the costs of your ordinary home-to-work travel, aren’t claimable.
Transport costs for work-related travel may be deductible, but the ATO will consider factors such as:
• whether the travel is a necessary part of performing your work (you can’t pretend your family holiday’s a work trip);
• whether your employer pays you to undertake the travel; and
• whether you have to follow your employer’s instructions during the travel period.
Accommodation, meal and other incidental expenses are deductible as work-related only if your work has “special demands” or “co-existing work locations” that mean you have to sleep away from home.
COMMENT: The ATO have added a section to the pre-fill report available for each individual on the Tax Agent Portal. This shows a warning when, according to the ATO data sampling, your prior year deductions are above the norm based on your occupation. We will alert you if this warning appears. It is early days, though it would appear this is not an automatic tax audit trigger but rather a bolstering of ‘self-assessment’ by the ATO through making their presence known.