Financial Services

Per diem/travel allowance - domestic and overseas

The Australian Tax Office has set what it considers 'reasonable' limits for allowances paid in connection with travel.

A bona fide travel allowance may be evidenced by any one of the following factors:

  • The employee's occupation is inherently itinerant in nature.
  • The existing work location continues to be the employee's regular work place (this would not be the case, for example, where visiting professors are visiting UWA; the University would now be their new work location).
  • The employee continues to reside near the exisiting work location.
  • The use of temporary style accommodation while away from home (such as a motel).
  • The employee simply takes travel items as opposed to residential belongings.
  • Travelling in the course of his or her employment away from employee's ordinary residence which involves sleeping away from home.
  • There is no official change of job location.
  • The allowance is generally applicable for a short period of time.
  • The allowance is paid or payable to cover expenses for accommodation or food and drink or incidental expenses.
  • The allowance covers a specific journey/s.

The amount payable/paid depends on the destination and also your salary level. Refer to the current ATO Tax Determination for reasonable domestic and overseas allowance amounts for the current year.

Where the allowance received does not exceed the reasonable allowance amount, and the allowance is fully expected to be expended on deductible work-related expenses at least equal to the amount of the allowance, and the amount and nature of the allowance is shown separately in the accounting records of the University, then the University is not required to note the amount on the employee's payment summary nor apply PAYG withholding.

Allowance type - Domestic or overseas travel allowance involving an overnight absence from payee's ordinary place of residence Withhold PAYG Show on Payment Summary
Up to reasonable allowances amount No No
Over reasonable allowances amount Yes (from excess over reasonable allowances amount) Yes (show total allowance separately in allowance box)

Academics on sabbatical leave

The ATO has identified academics on sabbatical leave as a class of employee able to receive a travel allowance over a long period of time; they are to be treated as travelling rather than living away from home. Therefore, study leave grants provided to staff travelling on study leave to cover airfares and to make small contributions towards costs of living away from home will form part of recipient's assessable income.

Per diem payment

Per diem (Latin)

By the day/daily. This is a flat daily rate for accommodation/living expenses whilst travelling on University business.

This form is not to be used for reimbursement of actual expenses (based on receipts) which will go to Financial Services.

On costs
General – no PRT
Academic – PRT
Per Diem Payment [PDF, 40.9 KB]
Updated 23 Apr 2018