One of the conditions of deductibility of travel expenses, is that the expense is not a private or domestic nature.
The relevant preliminary views of the Commissioner:-
- the fact that the employee is working remotely does not make the cost of travel to that place deductible – for example, where a person who was working on an overseas secondment, returns to Australia due to COVID-19 and continues working remotely from their Australian home
- expenses incurred in travel undertaken in relocating for work are not deductible – they are a prerequisite to work
- where an employee has relocated for work, but retains a connection to their previous home (e.g. family) costs incurred for travel between their new work location and their previous home for private reasons are not deductible, even if their employer agrees to provide or fund the travel.
- The same results may not occur, if the expat as a non-resident has the travel costs paid by their overseas employer. The challenge then, is to explain how to have an Australian home to return to, if arguing non-residency.