What You Need to Know About Managing Your Tax Returns This Year
Given how tight most South Africans’ budgets are with rising travel costs, including fuel prices, fuel levies, e-tolls and the eminent carbon taxes, receiving a SARS refund on your travel allowance is always welcome.
Such a welcome refund is possible if motorists with a travel allowance can provide SARS with a complete and detailed logbook. Motorists must record their vehicles’ opening odometer reading for the new tax year on 1 March annually and keep detailed logs of every trip during the year.
With your GPS Log Book device, you can easily and effortlessly track, measure and monitor your vehicle mileage, fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance and e-tolls. To ensure that you don’t miss out on your next tax refund, read the information below before submitting your next travel claim.
When can you claim for travel?
If you receive a travel allowance from an employer or principal, you can claim a deduction for the use of your private vehicle for business purposes.
What do I need to do before I can claim?
Keep a detailed logbook throughout the year. You need to record your vehicle’s odometer reading on 1 March (on the first day of a tax year) and again on the last day of February of the next year (on the last day of the applicable tax year i.e. 1 March 2016 – 28 February 2017). The difference between the closing and opening odometer readings will give you your total kilometres travelled for the year.
Your logbook must include the following minimum information for each trip:
- The date of travel
- Where you started your trip and where you ended your trip
- The kilometres travelled
- Categorise your trips as business or private
- The reason for the trip
In addition to keeping a logbook, you have to maintain an accurate record of all your related expenses during the year, including fuel, oil, repairs and maintenance, car licence fees, insurance, as well as wear and tear. You must also keep your logbook and related documents for a period of at least five years, as you may be required to submit it to SARS to back up your claim. If you didn’t keep an accurate record, you can use the table of costs linked to the value of your vehicle supplied by SARS each year, here.
Top Tip: Your travel between home and your place of work cannot be claimed for business purposes, as this is regarded as private travel. A separate logbook must be kept for each vehicle used for business travel.
How do I calculate how much I can claim?
You can calculate your claim using the calculator on the GPS Log Book website, based on the 2015/2016 SARS cost table, which will provide you with an approximate claim amount. For example, if your car is valued between R80,001 and R160,000 and you travel approximately 20,000 km per annum, of which 50% is business-related, the estimated claim amount from SARS should be approximately R25,095.
Top Tip: you must keep your logbook for a period of at least five years as you may be required to submit it to SARS to back up your claim.
The GPS Log Book Team