Trips between home and work are generally considered private travel. In some circumstances, you can claim a deduction for travel between home and work, as well as for some travel between two workplaces.
If your travel was partly private, you can only claim what you incurred in the course of performing your work duties.
What you can claim
You can claim the cost of travelling:
- directly between two separate workplaces – for example, when you have a second job (if one of these places isn’t your home)
- from your normal workplace to an alternative workplace that is not a regular 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 – you’re required to start your work at home then travel to a workplace to continue your work for the same employer
- if you had shifting places of employment – you regularly work at more than one site each day before returning home
- from your home to an alternative workplace that is not a regular workplace for work purposes, and then to your normal workplace or directly home (this doesn’t apply where the alternative workplace has become a regular workplace)
- if you need to carry bulky tools or equipment that your employer requires you to use for work but you can’t leave at your workplace (for example, an extension ladder or a cello) – the tools or equipment are bulky, meaning that because of the size or weight they are awkward to transport and can only be transported conveniently by motor vehicle.
Transport expenses can include the cost of driving your car, ride-share (such as Uber) and ride-sourcing, flights or catching a train, taxi or bus.
What you can’t claim
You can’t claim the cost of driving your car between work and home if:
- 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 travelled directly to a place of work where you worked for somebody else
- you do some work at home.
Watch: Transporting bulky tools and equipment
If you do itinerant work (or have shifting places of work) you can claim transport expenses you incur when travelling between workplaces and your home.
The following factors may indicate you do itinerant work:
- Travel is a fundamental part of your work, as the very nature of your work, not just because it is convenient to you or your employer.
- You have a ‘web’ of work places you travel to, throughout the day.
- You continually travel from one work site to another.
- Your home is a base of operations – if you start work at home and can’t complete it until you attend your work site.
- You are often uncertain of the location of your work site.
- Your employer provides an allowance in recognition of your need to travel continually between different work sites and you use this allowance to pay for your travel.
It is important to also note that the travel needs to be fundamentally tied to your employment income. If the travel is merely a matter of convenience for you or your employer it will still be considered a private expense and not deductible.
Example 1 – work that is not itinerant
Chloe is a substitute teacher, who travels to different schools when teachers are away. She sometimes attends a school for just one day, and at other times for a few weeks.
Chloe is not carrying out itinerant work. While she may not know where she is going to work each day, she will only ever work at one location for the day. She can’t claim a deduction for the cost of the transport between home and work.
End of example
Example 2 – work that is itinerant
Mitchell works as an apprentice roof tiler and is dispatched to various sites each day. He travels to the first location from his home and returns home at the end of the day from the last site at which he has worked. Mitchell is carrying out itinerant work as he is travelling between sites all day and can claim a deduction for the transport expenses he incurs when he travels between home and work each day.
Mitchell can also claim the cost of his transport to travel between each site during the day. However, if Mitchell only attended one site and worked there for several days until the job was finished, he would not be carrying out itinerant work.
End of example
- Car expenses
- Other travel expenses
- myDeductions – record-keeping tool in the ATO app