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Car limit for 2018/19

The car limit is $57,581 for the 2018/19 income year (unchanged from the previous year).  This amount limits depreciation deductions and GST input tax credits.

FBT: Car parking threshold The car parking threshold for the FBT year commencing 1 April 2018 is $8.83.  This replaces the amount of $8.66 that applied in the previous year commencing 1 April 2017


'Work-related car expenses' and 'work-related travel expenses' are expenses you incur in the course of performing your job as an employee. You claim deductions for them and include the cost of trips between your home and your workplace if:

  • you used your car because you had to carry bulky tools or equipment that you used for work and could not leave at your workplace (for example, an extension ladder or cello)

  • your home was a base of employment (that is, you started your work at home and travelled to a workplace to continue your work for the same employer)

  • you had shifting places of employment (that is, you regularly worked at more than one site each day before returning home).

Work-related car and travel expenses also include the cost of trips:

  • between two separate places of employment (for example, when you have a second job)

  • from your normal workplace to an alternative workplace while you are still on duty and back to your normal workplace or directly home

  • from your home to an alternative workplace and then to your normal workplace or directly home (for example, if you travel to a client's premises to work there for the day).

If the travel was partly private, you can claim only the work-related part.

You cannot claim normal trips between your home and your workplace, even if:

  • you did minor work-related tasks at home or between home and your workplace

  • you travelled between your home and workplace more than once a day

  • you were on call

  • there was no public transport near work

  • you worked outside normal business hours

  • your home was a place where you ran your own business and you travelled directly to a place of employment where you worked for somebody


Methods of Claiming Work Related Car Expenses

There used to be 4 different methods that you could choose from to claim work related car expenses however 2 of these were abolished on the 1st July 2015. The methods now available are the logbook method which you are currently using and the cents per kilometer method. In your case I would recommend the log book method as I believe this would give you a more effective tax outcome.


If you use the logbook method, you:

  • can claim the business-use percentage of each car expense, based on the logbook records of your car’s usage

  • must keep a logbook so you can work out the percentage

  • must have written evidence of your fuel and oil costs, or odometer readings on which your estimates are based

  • must have written evidence for all your other expenses.


If you use the 'cents per kilometre' method:

  • your claim is based on a set rate for each business kilometres travelled

  • you can claim a maximum of 5,000 business kilometres per vehicle

  • you do not need written evidence to show how many kilometres you have travelled, but we may ask you to show how you worked out your business kilometres

  • you cannot make a separate claim for depreciation of the car’s value.

To work out how much you can claim, multiply the total business kilometres you travelled by the number of cents allowed for your car’s engine capacity in 2017 financial year this is 66 cents. This figure takes into account all your vehicle running expenses which means this is all you can claim you cannot claim interest, depreciation, fuel etc.



Keeping a Log Book

You can use pre-printed logbooks (available from stationery suppliers) or make your own.

Valid for five years

Each logbook you keep is valid for five years, but you may start a new logbook at any time.

If you establish your business-use percentage using a logbook from an earlier year, you must keep that logbook and maintain odometer readings in the following years.

Your first year

If this is the first year you have used the logbook method, you must keep a logbook during the income tax year for at least 12 continuous weeks. That 12-week period needs to be representative of your travel throughout the year.

If you started to use your car for business purposes less than 12 weeks before the end of the income year, you can continue to keep a logbook into the next year so it covers the required 12 weeks.

Two or more cars

If you want to use the logbook method for two or more cars, the logbook for each car must cover the same period. The 12-week period you choose should be representative of the business use of all cars.

Information your logbook must contain

Each logbook you keep must contain the following information:

  • when the logbook period begins and ends

  • the car’s odometer readings at the start and end of the logbook period

  • the total number of kilometres the car travelled during the logbook period

  • the number of kilometres travelled for each journey recorded in the logbook (if you made two or more journeys in a row on the same day, you can record them as a single journey). You will need to record the:  

    • start and finishing times of the journey

    • odometer readings at the start and end of the journey

    • kilometres travelled

    • reason for the journey.


  • the business-use percentage for the logbook period

  • the odometer readings at the start and end of each income year you use the logbook method

If you use the logbook method, you must keep a logbook to claim the business use percentage of each car expense.

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