Tax Issues - Australia Only

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Claiming Travel As A Tax Deduction

No, family holidays are still private, but...

When it comes to preparing your tax return, everyone is scrambling for deductions, but often at this stage it is too late. A little planning can ensure a much better result.

Paperwork

If you want to claim a tax deduction for travel, essentially you need receipts and a travel diary.

There are specific rules surrounding this which you can confirm with your accountant, but essentially you need to keep receipts to substantiate the expenses (travel, accommodation, food, incidentals), and a diary that ‘proves’ that you were actually on business, not just having a junket!

Although you don’t need a travel diary if travelling less than 6 nights away, having one is useful to establish the deductible percentage.

Business Or Pleasure?

Photographers often travel with dual purposes, part pleasure, part business.

The tax office will allow you to claim the travel expenses to the extent they were business-related (and assuming you have the necessary paperwork). A few changes to your itinerary could see a much better claim.

For instance, a trip to a photography convention overseas could see the airfare and accommodation for the time of the convention fully tax deductible

The following week you may extend your stay to travel and look around. If you’re like most photographers, you’re also shooting stock or creating new work for your portfolio. This could be considered business related, especially if there is an outcome (new photos for the web-site, blog, portfolio, exhibition, etc).

The way to establish the business to private percentage is to keep a diary that shows the date, where you were, what you were doing, the time you started work and how long you worked.

If you spent all day travelling to take stock photos or produce work for your portfolio, this might establish that this day was tax deductible.

Travel Allowances

The travel claim becomes a little more complicated depending on whether you are in business as a sole trader or a partnership, or if you are an employee (even if it is your family company or trust) receiving a travel allowance. This article assumes you’re a sole trader or partnership. Employees may not need to substantiate a travel allowance!

This is general information only. We do not know your specific financial or legal situation and we are not providing you with advice. As such, this article should not be relied upon as legal, financial or accounting advice. Please use this article as a conversation starter with your own adviser.

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