If you’re a truck driver it pays to learn what you can claim at tax time
To claim a deduction for work-related expenses
- you must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed
- it must be directly related to earning your income
- you must have a record to prove it.*
* You can use the ATO app myDeductions tool to keep track of your expenses and receipts throughout the year.
You can only claim the work-related part of expenses. You can’t claim a deduction for any part of the expense that relates to personal use.
- drive between separate jobs on the same day – eg you drive for two separate employers
- drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employer on the same day – eg travelling between depots.
There are limited circumstances where you can claim the cost of trips between home and work, such as where you carry bulky tools or equipment for work. The cost of these trips is deductible only if:
- your employer requires you to transport the equipment for work
- the equipment was essential to earning your income
- there was no secure area to store the equipment at the work location, and
- the equipment is bulky – at least 20kg or cumbersome to transport.
If you claim car expenses, you need to keep a logbook to determine the work-related percentage, or be able to demonstrate to the ATO a reasonable calculation if you use the cents per kilometre method to claim.
Phone and internet expenses
You can only claim the work-related portion of the use of your personal device.
You can claim a deduction for travel expenses if you are required to travel overnight – eg travelling to a remote area, provided the cost was incurred while carrying out your work duties. This could include meals, accommodation, fares and incidental expenses that you incurred and your employer has not provided or reimbursed you.*
* Circumstances may be different for FIFO workers.*
Receiving a travel allowance from your employer does not automatically entitle you to a deduction. You still need to show that you were away overnight, you spent the money yourself, and the travel was directly related to earning your income.
You can claim a deduction for the cost of buying, hiring, mending or cleaning certain uniforms that are unique and distinctive to your job – or the environment you work in – or protective clothing that your employer requires you to wear – eg steel-capped boots.
You can’t claim a deduction for the cost of buying or cleaning plain clothing worn at work, even if you only wear it to work and even if your employer tells you to wear it – eg standard jeans, drill shirts and trousers.
Other common deductible work-related expenses
- protective equipment such as sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreens
- restraining ropes
- union fees.