3 March 2021
Transport expenses (Taxation ruling TR2021/1) incurred by an employee travelling between work locations are generally tax deductible because such travel usually:
- Fits in with the duties of employment.
- Is done in work time.
- Is under the direction and control of the employer.
However, transport expenses incurred for ordinary travel between the employee’s home and the regular workplace (e.g. taking the bus, train, tram or car to and from work) are not deductible because such travel expenses are viewed as private expenses the employee incurs to get to work. In other words, the travel is deemed to be a prerequisite to earning an employee’s assessable income.
If an employee performs work-related tasks at home or work activities while travelling (e.g. reading and responding to work emails while on the train) this does not make these expenses deductible.
With so many employees now working more flexibly, the rules surrounding tax deduction of transport expenses remain the same with home to work travel still not deductible. An employee’s home office is not considered to be a place of business if the employer can still normally accommodate them at their usual offices. Therefore, such expenses would not be deductible as travel between work locations.
Also, if an employee chooses to do work from a location other than their home or regular place of work, for example a holiday resort, the cost of travel to that location is not deductible because such expenses are not incurred in gaining or producing an employee’s assessable income and are private in nature.