Start a travel allowance log-book
The new tax year starts on March 1, and as of that date if you want to claim mileage travelled for work purposes, you will have to record it in a log-book.
The system in terms of which you can deem that you travelled a certain distance for work purposes to claim a deduction against a travel allowance paid by your employer will be abolished as of March 1.
You will still be able to use the deemed mileage to claim a deduction when you fill in your tax return later this year for the 2009/10 tax year. But you will need to start recording any trips you do for work purposes from March this year to claim for them when you fill in your return for 2010/11 next year.
In addition, 80 percent of any travel allowance paid to you by an employer will be taxed as and when you receive it as of March 1. Currently, 60 percent of the allowance is taxed upfront.
The final tax on the allowance depends on your claim for business travel and is calculated when your tax is assessed at the end of the tax year. The increase in the upfront tax could reduce your take-home pay.
SARS has a free online log-book on its website (www.sars.gov.za). Look in the online tools section and follow the “Online log-book” link.
Mobile Gateway has an electronic log-book that allows you to record your business trips on your cellphone and then upload the information to the internet. It is available at www.tripsheet.co.za for R299 (including VAT) for 24 months.
White Wall Web’s Travellogger (www.travellogger.co.za) is a free service, and you can also log into it from an internet-enabled cellphone.