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How to Claim Motor Vehicle Expenses as Tax Deductions

Prosaic Team
March 12, 2024
7 minutes


Claiming motor vehicle expenses as tax deductions can significantly reduce your taxable income, but navigating the process can seem daunting. Whether you're a small business owner or a sole trader, understanding the basics of claiming these expenses can lead to valuable savings. This practical guide outlines the steps to claim motor vehicle expenses, ensuring compliance and maximisation of deductions.

How To Guide

1. Determine Eligibility

Firstly, understand that not all motor vehicle expenses are deductible. To be eligible, the expenses must be related to the operations of your business or trade. This includes travel between different work locations, visits to clients, and errands for business supplies. Commuting between home and your primary place of work typically does not qualify.

2. Keep Accurate Records

Maintain detailed records of your motor vehicle usage for business purposes. This includes logging the date, purpose of the trip, and kilometres driven. Receipts for fuel, repairs, insurance, and other related expenses should also be kept. Digital tracking apps can simplify this process, automatically recording your trips and categorising expenses.

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3. Understand the Deduction Methods

There are generally two methods to calculate motor vehicle expenses: the actual cost method and the mileage rate method.

  • Actual Cost Method: This involves tracking all vehicle-related expenses over the fiscal year and calculating the percentage used for business to determine the deductible amount.
  • Mileage Rate Method: Using a standard mileage rate, multiply the business kilometres driven by the rate to find your deduction. This method simplifies record-keeping but may require approval or specific rates provided by tax authorities.

4. Calculate Business Use Percentage

For the actual cost method, you'll need to determine the proportion of vehicle use that is for business. This is done by dividing the business kilometres by the total kilometres driven in the year. The resulting percentage is then applied to the total vehicle expenses to calculate the deductible amount.

5. Prepare Documentation

When filing your taxes, ensure you have all necessary documentation on hand. This includes your vehicle logbook, receipts for expenses, and calculations for your claimed deductions. Clear, organised records will support your claims and facilitate any enquiries from tax authorities.

6. Claim Your Deduction

On your tax return, include your motor vehicle expenses in the appropriate section for business expenses. The exact process may vary, so refer to the guidelines provided by the tax-filing platform or software you're using. Ensure you're claiming the correct amounts and utilising the appropriate method for calculating your deductions.

7. Consult a Professional

Given the nuances in tax laws and potential changes, consulting with a tax professional or accountant is advisable. They can provide personalised advice, ensuring you claim the maximum deductions possible while remaining compliant with regulations.


Claiming motor vehicle expenses as tax deductions requires a bit of effort upfront in terms of record-keeping and understanding the applicable calculation methods. However, by following these steps, small businesses and sole traders can significantly reduce their taxable income, ensuring they're not paying more in taxes than necessary. Remember, staying organised and seeking professional advice can streamline the process and optimise your tax savings.

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Prosaic Team


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