Reasonable travel allowances - Tax Determination 2021/6 released

The Australian Taxation Office has issued new rates for reasonable travel expenses for the 2021/22 financial year. Tax Determination TD2021/6 sets out the rates for employee taxpayers who travel within Australia or overseas for work-related purposes and receive travel allowances. Substantiation requirements do not apply if accommodation, food and drink, and incidental expenses are within the ATO’s reasonable amounts.

This Ruling applies to deductions to be claimed for the income year 2021/2022 in relation to claims made by employees for:

  • overtime meal expenses – for food and drink when working
  • domestic travel expenses – for accommodation, food and drink, and incidentals when travelling away from home overnight for work, and overs
  • as travel expenses – for food and drink, and incidentals when travelling overseas for work.

As a general rule, to be eligible for non-substantiation the time away from home must not exceed 21 days for domestic travel and six days for travel overseas.

When travelling overseas for work-related purposes, a record of activities must be kept if it involves six or more nights in a row, even if an overseas travel allowance is paid. The record or diary is to show activities undertaken in the course of producing assessable income - not expenses.

With accommodation, any expenses must be substantiated and are reimbursable by receipt. For overseas travel covered by an allowance, reasonable amounts have been determined for food and drink and incidental expenses only. If a person receives an overseas travel allowance and incurs work-related travel expenses and claims a deduction in excess of the reasonable meal and incidentals amounts, the whole claim must be substantiated, not just the excess.

  • The 2021/22 Determination is available from the ATO website here.
  •  The 2020/21 Determination which applies to deductions claimed for the 2020/21 income year is available here.