What are the limits on claiming travel expenses?

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Cape Town - Filing tax returns can sometimes be a daunting task. Fin24, in collaboration with the SA Institute of Tax Professionals, will attempt to answer users' tax questions to help make this process as seamless as possible.

User question:

I work for one of the big 4 Audit firms. As such we receive a reimbursement travel claim for our travel between the office and the client. The claim is at the rate in the government gazette.

• I need clarity in terms of what is the limit on the claim (8 000km per annum as I understand it)?

• Further I need advice on what would be the implications of exceeding this limit?

• Would I be taxed if going over it? No tax is deducted on the claim by the employer.

Piet Nel of the SA Institute of Tax Professionals responds:

We accept that the query relates to the 2015 year of assessment, but the same principles will apply to the current year as well. The simplified method (as it is known) is only available where the allowance or advance is based on the actual distance travelled by the recipient in using a motor vehicle on business. 

In terms of the notice the distance travelled in the vehicle (or more than one vehicle) for business purposes during the year of assessment must not exceed 8 000 kilometres and no other compensation in the form of a further allowance or reimbursement (other than for parking or toll fees) is payable by the employer to that recipient.  

If the total distance exceeded 8 000 kilometres the recipient (you) will have to make a deduction against the allowance. This is done when the return is submitted by providing details of the vehicle (cost of acquisition and running costs) and a logbook. 

Please note that the current filing period is for the period of March 1 2014 to February 28 2015.

The important deadline dates in the 2015 tax season are:

September 30 2015: Manual/postal submissions
November 27 2015: At a SARS branch (non-provisional)
November 27 2015: eFiling (non-provisional)
January 29 2016: Provisional taxpayers via eFiling

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