Written by Anrich Marais
In many cases, you may or will be required to travel to and from clients to perform your work duties. This may be per private vehicle, a company-provided vehicle, an Uber, train, or an airplane.
You may wonder what documents you need to keep to claim a tax deduction for yourself or your business. When you want to claim an expense for tax, SARS requires you to prove that the expense was actually incurred in the production of income and not of a capital nature. In short, you expended this cost in order to make your income.
When you travel by private vehicle, this may be structured by your employer as a travel allowance against which you can claim a travel deduction for business kilometres. You will be required to keep a logbook for business travel (which should state the odometer reading before travelling, the number of kilometres travelled according to the odometer reading at the end of your travels, the location, and the reason for travelling to the client). For travel with a company-provided vehicle, your employer will include a “fringe benefit” (income), which will reflect on your payslip.
You will, similarly to the above, need to keep a logbook for business travel to claim a deduction against such a fringe benefit.
For travel by Uber, train, or airplane, you will be required to keep the physical invoices, tickets, and proof of payments. This may be scanned and kept electronically if preferred. SARS will want to know whom you visited and why you considered this travel as a business expense. It is, therefore, useful to keep a summary of these travels on a Word or Excel document or a software program with the following details: travel date, where you travelled from and to where, the reason for travel (example: visiting client), which client, etc.? These business travel expenses may be submitted to your company and reimbursed if paid out of your own pocket.
From SARS’s perspective, the onus is on the taxpayer to provide the required proof of whether an expense was incurred and whether that expense was laid out for business purposes. If you follow the above, you should have the required documents on hand in order to claim a deduction for business travel for your personal or company tax.
If you have any questions on the above, you are welcome to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that these articles are to be considered general information sheets only and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information therein. Always contact one of your Finleys advisors for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).