Income tax: what are the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2018–19 income year?

TD 2018/11 Substantiation Exemption: 2018/19 Travel & Overtime Meal Allowances

Date of Determination: 29 June 2018.


1. This Determination sets out the amounts that the Commissioner considers are reasonable (reasonable amounts) for the substantiation exception in Subdivision 900-B of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) for the 2018–19 income year in relation to claims made by employees for:

  • (a) overtime meal expenses – for food and drink when working overtime
  • (b) domestic travel expenses – for accommodation, food and drink, and incidentals when travelling away from home overnight for work (particular reasonable amounts are given for employee truck drivers, office holders covered by the Remuneration Tribunal and Federal Members of Parliament)
  • (c) overseas travel expenses – for food and drink, and incidentals when travelling overseas for work.

2. The approach outlined can only be used where you receive an allowance to cover the particular expenses you are claiming – for example, you received an accommodation allowance and are claiming accommodation expenses. This Determination is not relevant to you where you do not receive an allowance to cover your expenses.

3. The reasonable amounts only provide the maximum amount you can claim without being required to substantiate your expenditure (refer to paragraph 33 of TR 2004/6). If you rely on the reasonable amounts and the ATO checks your income tax return, you will still be required to show:

  • you spent the money in performing your work duties (for example, in travelling away from home overnight on a work trip)
  • how you worked out your claim (for example, you kept a diary)
  • you spent the money yourself (for example, using your credit card statement or other banking records) and were not reimbursed (for example, a letter from your employer), and
  • you correctly declared your allowance as income in your tax return.

Source: CCH