The Deal with Motor Vehicle Deductions

The ATO have released their hit list, most notably is the crackdown on work related motor vehicle and travel deductions.
January 7, 2019
Michael Walter

Big time Bombers Supporter. Manager extraordinaire. Family man. Mornington Peninsula local.

The ATO have released their hit list for 2018 and beyond, most notably is the crackdown on work related motor vehicle and travel deductions.  Over 8 billion dollars in motor vehicle deductions are claimed by around 3 million aussies each year so it’s not surprising that the wonderful people at the ATO would like to take a closer look at these claims.  Penalty fines and interest are be imposed on top of payment of additional tax for dodgy claims.

Here’s a quick guide to make sure you are claiming your full entitlement and how to substantiate it if the ATO come knocking.

There are two methods to claim you motor vehicle deduction, the statutory method and the logbook method.  Both limit your claim to work related motor vehicle use, which typically does not include travel to and from work.

Types of deductible travel include:

  • Travel from work to a supplier or customer
  • Travel between office locations
  • Travel between jobs (if you have a second job)
  • Travel from home to a location that is not your usual place of work (at the request of your employer) and back home again
  • Attend conferences or meetings
  • To carry bulky tools to and from work or a job site (chat to us about this one, there are certain rules that apply here)
  • Certain rules also apply if you don’t have a fixed place of employment

Statutory Method

The Stat method allows for a claim of up to 5,000 work related kms travelled during the year, claimed at a rate of 66c per kilometer. Under this method you can claim a maximum deduction for $3,300.


  • No log book required
  • No need to track actual car expenses like petrol and repairs
  • Car make, model and registration are recorded in your tax return
  • Must be a car that you own

If the ATO review your claim

You will need to justify your claim by explaining why you are required to use your car for work related purposes.  The ATO may also require a written statement from your employer to help substantiate your claim.

Logbook Method

The logbook method is a more robust claim and is typically used by taxpayers that use their car often for work (eg. sales representatives or tradies).  This method allows you to claim a percentage of all car expenses including petrol, insurance, repairs & maintenance, depreciation and even interest on loan repayments.  To claim this method you will need a valid logbook that has tracked 12 consecutive weeks of all travel.  That information will be used calculate the work related use of your car over the period..  You can use the same 12 week logbook for up to 5 years providing that your car use does not change.  If your circumstances change, you will need to complete a new 12 week logbook.


  • 12 week logbook, completed in the last 5 years that is still relevant
  • Car make, model and registration
  • Must be a car that you own
  • Record the odometer at the end of each financial year
  • Receipts for all car related expenditure for the year (rego, insurance, repairs, etc)
  • Purchase contract (so your accountant can calculate depreciation)
  • Finance contract (to calculate interest paid)

If the ATO review your claim

You will be asked to provide all of the above to substantiate your claim.  Your employer may also be asked to confirm your logbook.

Your motor vehicle can be a significant tax deduction if you get it right.  The ATO are looking more closely at these claims so make sure you have a chat to us if you’re not sure what we should be including in your next tax return.

January 7, 2019
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