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o/s travel deductions

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parsonstrish

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I hope that I'm not breaking any rules by asking this question :confused: If I am please forgive me. :oops:

My first o/s conference last yr. and I paid for all. I flew in on a frid. and travelled to first part of conf. on the sund. the w/shops started monday.

Second part of conf. began on wed. and finished late sat. afternoon. I travelled back to pt. of departure on sund. and flew out Tues mid-day.

? can I claim the incurred expenses either side of conf. I actually remained in my hotel from sund. to tues as unwell but no doctors certificate.

Has anyone claimed for hotel rm. during transit. On return I arrived early early am and booked a/port rm. until evening near time of departure. Can I claim.

$10,000 in conf's/ seminars this tax yr. all on credit card and would appreciate info. from the more seasoned conf./workshop attendees.

Tax office not really able to help with queries, thank you.

cheers, trish
 

serfty

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More of a reference to the tax deductibility of the trip costs.

Normally Pro-rata based on an employment/business:leisure ratio period of the trip.
 

simongr

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I guess if you are supporting the travel with a travel diary it will show a coupld of gap days with nowork. However (and this is not formal tax advice) I would not see it as unreasonable to claim the day mid conference with no work - you couldnt exactly return home. Also a day either end should not be a problem - explained by recovery from long haul flights and preparing to leave and getting good connections.
 

Reggie

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I generally agree with simongr. In the case as you put it I would be claiming the whole lot. I am not an accountant and you should always check with yours if you have one. However I believe if you are audited and can put the justification forward with correct documentation, the worst that would happen is the tax department may disagree with the day or two at the end of trip and then you would be made to pay some more tax. As long as you are not "trying it on" there will be no penalty.

I had an issue once where my employer was sending me around the world in Y, and I paid the extra for J. I asked my accountant if I could claim it or would the tax office say no, he said something along the lines that the tax department can not tell you how to spend your money, ie if you want ot fly first instead of Y, that upto you, also if on business you stay in an airport hotel rather than sleep on an airport bench, it is tax deductable.
 

NM

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Reggie said:
I had an issue once where my employer was sending me around the world in Y, and I paid the extra for J. I asked my accountant if I could claim it or would the tax office say no, he said something along the lines that the tax department can not tell you how to spend your money, ie if you want ot fly first instead of Y, that upto you, also if on business you stay in an airport hotel rather than sleep on an airport bench, it is tax deductable.
I have done similar when my employer paid for Y and I paid difference to J. The important thing was to have a travel diary (as I must have as part of my employer reimbursed travel expenses anyway) showing the business content of the trip (100% in my case).
 

Shano

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NM said:
I have done similar when my employer paid for Y and I paid difference to J. The important thing was to have a travel diary (as I must have as part of my employer reimbursed travel expenses anyway) showing the business content of the trip (100% in my case).
Out of interest, what content do you typically list in the diary? It was raised at one point by my employer, but nothing eventuated. I am fortunate that i do not need much justification for expense reimbursement - typically just a receipt for items over $25.
 

NM

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Shano said:
Out of interest, what content do you typically list in the diary? It was raised at one point by my employer, but nothing eventuated. I am fortunate that i do not need much justification for expense reimbursement - typically just a receipt for items over $25.
Interesting that your employer does not require it for their taxation purposes. Our is only required for international travel.

Our form is a MS Word document with the title TRAVEL DIARY and the header includes the employees name and number, Trip Duration, From and To dates, and Business Purpose for the trip.

That is followed by a table with the following columns: Date of Activity, Place of Activity, Time Activity Commenced, Activity Duration, Nature of Activity.

At the bottom of the form are fields for Employee's Signature and Date.
 

Reggie

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NM said:
have a travel diary showing the business content of the trip (100% in my case).
Funnily enough NM my trips are always 100% business content so all claimed back from work. I must have a good boss, as I have never had to keep a travel diary. I do up a basic itinerary with flights, accomodation, and proposed activities. As I work Mon to Fri, that means on weekends if I just happen to be in Paris, NY, SFO, BNA I get to have a look around, its too costly and too short a time to fly home to Australia, and the boss picks up the acoomodation, food, drink etc.
 

simongr

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We have a policy that you need to complete a travel diary but I am not sure anyone knows of the policy :) I am the third most travelled employee in the ANZ region so its just not relevant to most people.

As such I have never filled one in and never been asked for one. Not really appropriate activity for the company auditor :oops:
 

Shano

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NM said:
Interesting that your employer does not require it for their taxation purposes. Our is only required for international travel.

Our form is a MS Word document with the title TRAVEL DIARY and the header includes the employees name and number, Trip Duration, From and To dates, and Business Purpose for the trip.

That is followed by a table with the following columns: Date of Activity, Place of Activity, Time Activity Commenced, Activity Duration, Nature of Activity.

At the bottom of the form are fields for Employee's Signature and Date.
I can see the logic behind your employer's approach and believe that it was for tax reasons that it was raised by my employer. I typically indicate on my expense report the purpose of travel, i.e. trip to X for commissioning new plant or trip to Y to attend industry exhibition, followed by all itemised expenses incurred for the trip, which seems to have kept our accountant happy.
 

NM

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Reggie said:
Funnily enough NM my trips are always 100% business content so all claimed back from work.
And that is normally the case for me also. this specific example was when the work project would only cover Y travel and I really wanted to do the work but also wanted to travel in J. So I saved my per diem allowances and used that to fund the difference in fare.

Our requirement to complete the travel diary has nothing to do with the fact that I was paying the fare difference. Our travel policy states that a travel diary must be submitted with the travel expense claim for all international trips. However, I have no idea if everyone adhere with that part of the policy. I always do and its really not a big burden.
Reggie said:
I must have a good boss, as I have never had to keep a travel diary. I do up a basic itinerary with flights, accomodation, and proposed activities. As I work Mon to Fri, that means on weekends if I just happen to be in Paris, NY, SFO, BNA I get to have a look around, its too costly and too short a time to fly home to Australia, and the boss picks up the acoomodation, food, drink etc.
My travel diary does not need to justify my activities on weekends. They just include my work activities as my business trips are always 100% business. So weekends are just skipped in my travel diary unless I am actually working.
 

oz_mark

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We have a travel diary policy, but are only required to complete one if away from home more than 5 days (which is only a small fraction of my travel). Mostly each line just says what project I was on, except on weekends where it was more 'private arrangements'. Company policy pays for accommodation when away for the weekend, but not for sightseeing :)

In sitautions where a conference is partly funded by my employer and partly by me, I keep a diary of teh whole thing but that is more for my accountant than the company.,
 

Reggie

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NM said:
So I saved my per diem allowances and used that to fund the difference in fare.
I dont get paid an allowance as such, they just pay the cost whatever it may be, so the J flight came out of my pocket. Can be good at times were accomodation and food is very expensive, but allows me to stay at a very nice hotel when I want.

NM said:
Our requirement to complete the travel diary has nothing to do with the fact that I was paying the fare difference. Our travel policy states that a travel diary must be submitted with the travel expense claim for all international trips. However, I have no idea if everyone adhere with that part of the policy. I always do and its really not a big burden.
I understood the diary keeping was seperate to paying the fare difference. I always submit my expense claim to get my money back, but there has been no requirment for the diary as yet. Its good to hear that it isn't a burden, as I have always dreaded having to do one if such a policy comes in.

NM said:
So I saved my per diem allowances
Never dealt with these, not specific to your case but is it normal for one to have to justify the amount received, or is it a matter of once one has it, do what you want with it?
 

oz_mark

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Reggie said:
I understood the diary keeping was seperate to paying the fare difference. I always submit my expense claim to get my money back, but there has been no requirment for the diary as yet. Its good to hear that it isn't a burden, as I have always dreaded having to do one if such a policy comes in.
I understand that the need tokeep a travel diary is more to do with the Tax Office, and generally is is they that require it for travel exceeding 5 nights in length.
 

Reggie

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oz_mark said:
I understand that the need tokeep a travel diary is more to do with the Tax Office, and generally is is they that require it for travel exceeding 5 nights in length.
I hope not, because my Int travel is always between 1.5 to 5 weeks and the dom can vary between 3 days and 3 weeks. If it is the case, it is likely to be my employer who cop's it, as there has been no requirement.
 

Shano

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As a reference, see this site from the ATO regarding record keeping for work related travel.

Seems to pertain more to personal tax deductions arising from work related travel.
 

simongr

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I think it is an FBT requirement. In order to allow the company to not have to report the cost of your hotels as a reportable benefit they need to demonstrate that you have travelled for business. It would only be if there is an audit by the ATO that the problem would be found.

Some campanies will have a dispensation with the ATO so that they dont have to have travel diaries - I think my previous employer did.
 

NM

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Reggie said:
I dont get paid an allowance as such, they just pay the cost whatever it may be, so the J flight came out of my pocket. Can be good at times were accomodation and food is very expensive, but allows me to stay at a very nice hotel when I want.
My per diem allowance is not for accommodation, that is paid per the hotel receipt. The per diem allowance is for meals and other incidentals. They have just revised all the per diem rates for different countries. Domestic travel per diem went up slightly, while some international per diems were reduced, including the USA. The USA rate used to be very healthy and no way I could spend that much on food.

Many years ago I used to be on reimbursement of actual expenses. That was a real pain and I lost money on overseas trips. For example, when the A$ was trading at around US$0.50, a beer could cost me around A$12-15 and bar tabs were not reimbursed, only meals. So a pre-dinner drink would cost me dearly when dining with colleagues. Now I get a per diem rate that is claimed in the local currency so exchange rates hold the value firm for that country. Of course if I don't spend all my allowance I get it in A$ so a weak A$ means a more healthy expense payment when I get home.
Reggie said:
I understood the diary keeping was seperate to paying the fare difference. I always submit my expense claim to get my money back, but there has been no requirment for the diary as yet. Its good to hear that it isn't a burden, as I have always dreaded having to do one if such a policy comes in.
A three week trip takes me about 5 mins to complete the travel diary with lots of cut & paste action ;)
Reggie said:
Never dealt with these, not specific to your case but is it normal for one to have to justify the amount received, or is it a matter of once one has it, do what you want with it?
As I mentioned, our per diem is not for accommodation, just meals and "incidentals". No justification needed. Just another line item on the expense claim form (on-line form) that includes the number of nights (its paid per night spent away from home, not per day) and the rate (which is published on our Intranet for each country). I then convert the international currency to A$ using whatever exchange rate I can justify (I usually use a receipt from a credit card transaction or ATM cash withdrawal). The per-diem rates are below the ATO maximum limits so there is no income tax or fringe benefits tax implications and it does not show on the group certificate (or whatever they call it now).

I understand the ATO also has a schedule of acceptable per diem rates which are actually based on your income (so higher per diem rate for higher income people) and that if your employer pays a lower rate (as mine does) you can claim the difference as a business expense. I have never done that and suggest speaking with a taxation advisor if considering such a tax deduction claim. I understand the ATO rates are very generous for people on a reasonable income level.
 

Shano

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I have travelled on both "actual expenses" and "per diem" in the past. Most travel now though is actual expenses.

Claiming everything can be a pain as you often overlook incidental expenses, misplace receipts, etc. Fortunately my employer gives me a bit of leeway, so a meal for some nominal value every now and then that does not need a justifying receipt helps recoup those costs.

I like the per diem approach for meals, etc., as it allows you to use that amount at your discrection. This way you can often save some bucks during the trip and then use for duty free alcohol, or gifts to placate SWMBO.
 
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