Can I claim for travel expenses?

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Cape Town - Tax filing season for the period March 1 2014 to February 2015 has just kicked off and filing returns can sometimes be a daunting task.

Fin24, in collaboration with the SA Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT), will as far as possible answer users' tax questions to help make this process as seamless as possible.

User question:

I am a pensioner and I am currently doing contract work for First National Bank. It is a 12-month contract. So I basically work from home, which is in Pretoria. Depending on the project I am working on I could either work in Pretoria or in Randburg.

What I would like to know is can I claim my travel expenses? What I mean by this is can I claim my kilometres travelled from home to either Pretoria or Randburg?

Piet Nel, SA Institute of Tax Professionals responds:

The answer depends on whether or not you are in receipt of remuneration for services rendered as an employee or you are rendering the services in the capacity as an independent contractor. 

In terms of the Income Tax Act (section 23(m)) an employee cannot make a deduction of travel expenses against remuneration. The ‘deduction’ would normally be made against a travel allowance. 

A person not deriving remuneration would not be caught by this limitation and would be able to make a deduction in respect of the business travel. Normally travel between work and home is not regarded as business travel. 

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