Using your car for work purposes? We explain what what you need to record, what you can claim and for how long.

What to record in your logbook

Your logbook for each car that you wish to claim must contain:

  • 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. If you make two or more journeys in a row on the same day, you can record them as a single journey
  • the odometer readings at the start and end of each subsequent income year your logbook is valid for
  • the business-use percentage for the logbook period
  • the make, model, engine capacity and registration number of the car.

For each journey, record the:

  • reason for the journey (such as a description of the business reason or whether it was for private use)
  • start and end date of the journey
  • odometer readings at the start and end of the journey
  • kilometres travelled.

Logbook timeframe

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

If you started to use your car for business-related 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 continuous weeks.

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.

If your circumstances change, such as a change in the type of work undertaken by your business, you may need a new logbook.

How to work out what percentage we can claim

To work out the percentage you can claim with this method:

  1. Keep a logbook.
  2. Work out your business-use percentage by
    •  dividing the distance travelled for business by the total distance travelled
    •  then multiplying by 100. (This will give you your business-use percentage)

Example: Traveling for work

At the end of the income year, Tim’s logbook shows he travelled a total of 11,000 kilometres. Of these, 6,600 were for business-related purposes.

To work out the percentage of car travel used for business-related purposes, Tim made the following calculation: 6,600 ÷ 11,000 × 100 = 60% of travel was for business-related purposes.

Tim’s total expenses, including depreciation, are $9,000 for the income year. To work out how much he could claim as a deduction, Tim completed the following calculation:

$9,000 × 60% = $5,400

Records you need to keep:

  • an electronic or pre-printed logbook (available from stationery suppliers)
  • evidence of your actual fuel and oil costs, or odometer readings on which you estimate your fuel and oil use
  • evidence of all your other car expenses.

What can I claim?

  • registration
  • insurance
  • servicing
  • repairs & maintenance
  • fuel & oil
  • depreciation (we’ll calculate this!)
  • interest
  • car wash
If you use toll roads, the tolls relating specifically to your work trips will also be deductible. This will need to be split up and provided.

* NOTE: If you have bought a new car throughout the financial year, we’ll need the dealer tax invoice as well as the finance contract (if applicable) if a car was sold/traded in, we’ll need to know the value of this also.

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Some of this article was originally published on the ATO website, which can be found here.