What is car allowance?
Car allowance is a company car scheme where an employer provides employees with monetary benefits, instead of company-owned cars. The car allowance is supplied on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis and is meant to help employees purchase or lease a vehicle or maintain the one they already own.
The car allowance scheme provides employees with more freedom of choice over the vehicle they drive, instead of having to use one provided by their workplace.
If you receive a car allowance, the amount is normally specified on your work contract and is paid out with your salary. Car allowance is considered a benefit and is taxed on par with your regular income.
How does a car allowance work?
While your employer generally provides a car allowance so you are able to purchase a vehicle if you don’t have one, you can also use the sum to maintain or improve your current vehicle.
Since the car allowance is a benefit and not a reimbursement for business-related expenses, you don’t need to provide proof of how you spend it. So, do with the money as you wish - buy or lease a vehicle, maintain your own, or spend it on other personal expenses.
You can still receive reimbursement for your business-related driving
If you receive a car allowance, you are still eligible for having your work-related mileage reimbursed tax-free at the standard tax office rates. In case your employer doesn’t additionally reimburse you for your business mileage, you may be able to claim mileage deductions on your annual tax return.
See more information about reimbursements and claims for your business-related driving expenses:
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Find out what the new ATO cents per kilometre rate is for 2022/2023 and how to use it. If you drive a car for business purposes, you can claim more per kilometre
The cents per km calculator in this article is based on the 2021 cents per km rate and allows you to estimate your business-related car expenses claim for the year.