Can I claim car expenses as a tax deduction?

Nurses claiming car expenses on tax

As a nurse it's often confusing knowing what you can and cannot claim as a tax deduction.  The amazing team at YOUTax have provided us with information to help you get it right.

You can claim a deduction for the cost of using your car for work-related travel you incur in the course of performing your job as an employee if you travel:

  • directly between two separate workplaces because you have two different employers (for example, you have a second job)
  • for work-related purposes from your normal workplace to an alternative workplace that is not a regular workplace and back to your normal workplace or directly home (for example, if you need to go to another hospital for a meeting)
  • between two workplaces that are not regular workplaces or between a workplace that is not a regular workplace and a place of business (for example, between two hospitals)
  • between home and work, only if:
    • you have to carry bulky tools or equipment, at least 20kgs, that you use for work and there is no secure area for storing your tools or equipment at work
    • your home is considered a base of employment and you either commence work at home and travel directly to another base of employment to continue working, or travel from another base of employment to home to continue working
    • you travel from your home to an alternative workplace, that is not a regular workplace, for work activities and then to your normal workplace or directly home.

The Work-related car expenses calculator helps calculate the amount you can claim as a tax deduction for work-related expenses.

 

Claiming car expenses

If you are entitled to claim a deduction for your work-related car expenses you incur in the course of performing your job as an employee, there are two methods you can choose from to work out the amount you can claim.

The two methods are the:

  • cents per kilometre method
  • logbook method.

Cents per kilometre method

You can use this method to claim up to a maximum of 5,000 work kilometres. For example, if you have travelled 5,085 work kilometres, you can claim 5,000 work kilometres but can't claim the extra 85 kilometres.

When working out your deduction using the cents per kilometre method, you do not need receipts or other written evidence but we may ask you how you worked out your estimate of work kilometres. For example, by:

  • using a diary of work-related travel
  • basing your costs on a regular pattern of travel.

Logbook method

The logbook method provides a way of working out the percentage of your car use that is for work purposes. You can then claim a deduction for this percentage of each car expense you incur.

When using the logbook method, you must keep all of the following:

  • a logbook: must cover a period of 12 continuous weeks and is valid for five years
  • odometer records: record your opening and closing odometer readings for each year you use the logbook method
  • written evidence for all your car expenses: you can use your odometer records to estimate your fuel and oil costs instead of keeping receipts.

If your employer reimbursed your car expenses calculated by reference to the distance travelled by the car, include the amount you received on your tax return, even if you can't claim a deduction for these expenses.

You can claim a deduction for the decline in value (depreciation) of your car up to the value of the car limit if you use the logbook method.

Car expenses you can't claim

You can't claim a deduction for the cost of:

  • travelling to another hospital or other workplace for a social function
  • using your car to travel between your home and work
    • if the travel is a normal trip between your home and your workplace; it is a private expense, even if you do small tasks on your way to or from work such as picking up mail for the hospital, or
    • just because you do shift work, you are on call or there is no public transport available
  • car expenses if your employer or any other person provides a car for you and you do not pay for any of the running costs (such as petrol, repairs and other maintenance costs). This includes a car provided under a salary sacrifice arrangement
  • any expenses you incur for the direct operation of a car that your employer provides and that you or your relatives use privately at any time, even if the expenses are work related. This includes a car provided under salary sacrifice arrangement. Such expenses form part of the valuation of the car for fringe benefits tax purposes.

Contributer: You Tax,

Specialist advisors and tax agents in Nursing, Allied Health, Aged Care, Paramedics and Social Services


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