Every time you get on a plane, statistics show that nearly half your fellow passengers are business travellers. If you are a small business owners traveling for business, or an employee not being reimbursed for your travel costs by your employer, you need to know what expenses are tax-deductible and make sure you make a claim in your tax return.

What can you claim?

If you are required to travel as part of your business, profession or job, any costs which you or your business incurs are potentially tax deductible. Small business owners can deduct those costs as operating expenses. Employees who are not reimbursed for these expenses can deduct them as work related travel expenses.  The kinds of expenses which you might incur, and which might be deductible include:

  • transportation – costs of flight, train, bus, car, taxi, etc.
  • accommodation and meals – room, meals, laundry, telephone and internet services

What's the primary purpose of your trip?

Statistics indicate that two out of three business travelers are mixing business with pleasure by adding some “me-time” to at least one business trip every year, which might be an economical option when following these guidelines:

The primary purpose of the trip must be business-related for the business portion of the expenses to be tax-deductible. So, if you spend two weeks in Far North Queensland but the only business element is a one hour meeting with a customer, you might struggle to claim anything!

Doing some work on holiday

Doing some work on holiday is not the same thing as bringing a partner or your family on a business trip. The only expenses deductible are those that would have been incurred if the business owner or employee had travelled alone and not extended the trip for leisure.

Staying on after a work assignment

If you stay on after a work assignment for a few days, the cost of your return flight will be tax deductible, because you’d have had to take that return flight even if you’d come home as soon as the work part of the trip ended. But any accommodation or other expenses, such as meals or car hire, which you incur after the work-related element ends won’t be claimable

The nightly rate for a room that could accommodate one person is the amount that can be deducted. The cost of that family size suite to accommodate spouse and kids who’ve travelled with you doesn’t qualify.

Meals, travel and other expense costs incurred can only be claimed for the employee or business-owner, not traveling companions.

Still not sure what might be a deductible expense? When on a company trip, keep all your receipts and a travel diary and talk to H&R Block to help you determine what is deductible.

More information

H&R Block can help you lodge your return online or in one of our many office locations around Australia.

April 2017

Book a tax return appointment

Our tax accountants have the knowledge to walk you through the tax refund process with ease. We are committed to offering expert and personal service year-round at a location convenient to you. Find an office and book an appointment online.

Find your nearest office

Book a tax return appointment

Our tax accountants have the knowledge to walk you through the tax refund process with ease. We are committed to offering expert and personal service year-round at a location convenient to you. Find an office and book an appointment online.

Find your nearest office