Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2017/D6

18 August 2017

Lance Cunningham, National Tax Director |

BDO welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback in response to Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2017/D6 (‘TR 2017/D6’) – Income tax and fringe benefits tax: when are deductions allowed for employees' travel expenses that was released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on 28 June 2017 and sets out general principles for determining whether an employee can deduct travel expenses under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997).

Whilst TR 2017/D6 includes 18 new and interesting examples, BDO considers that some require further clarification and that there needs to be more examples to reflect the modern working environment.

We also understand that once finalised, TR 2017/D6 will replace Miscellaneous Taxation Ruling MT 2030 - Fringe benefits tax: living-away-from-home allowance benefits. We also note that MT 2030 was withdrawn on 12 July 2017, therefore we consider that it is imperative that TR 2017/D6 address the issues in this submission and be finalised as soon as possible so as to provide certainty to taxpayers.

This BDO submission:

  • recommends a 6 month or 183-day rule before travel for business becomes a living away from home arrangement, consistent with industry standards and tax jurisdictions overseas.
  • seeks clarification on certain examples in TR 2017/D6 including more definitive guidance on certain topics including timing and location;
  • requests more examples that address issues that have not been covered in TR 2017/D6 that reflect contemporary working arrangements and flexible definitions of work location;
  • highlights some grammatical errors for rectification in TR 2017/D6; and

These and other issues are expanded upon in the attached appendix.