Start a travel al­lowance log-book

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PERSONAL FINANCE -

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.

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