Claiming travel costs to your native country (the language that you work into) with ATO
Thread poster: Kristina Wolf

Kristina Wolf  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 12:45
Member (2004)
Spanish to German
+ ...
Aug 1, 2017

Hi all,

I am wondering whether to anyone has experience with claiming travel costs (airfares) to their native country in Australia.
I mostly payed taxes in the UK so far and there it's legal to claim travel costs for travelling to a country if it serves solely a business purpose or an educational purpose. It is specifically recognised that translators need to spend time in the countries where the language that they work with is spoken and you can claim travel expenses to those countries.
I travelled to Germany (my native country) twice within the last financial year, one was for family reasons, but the other was in order to make sure I kept up my language skills. However, I didn't take any formal course or similar. I had a couple of informal meetings with colleagues, but also didn't go on holiday or the like.

Thanks for any input.
Kristina


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Be careful ! Aug 1, 2017

I don't think your interpretation of the the UK tax rules is correct.

Here in the UK, under HMRC guidelines, only expenses "wholly, exclusively and NECESSARILY incurred" in carrying out a particular business are allowable as expenses.

It may be tempting to think that you could deduct the costs of massive air fares, for travelling halfway around the world, from your business expenses, but I suspect your local tax authority might not take the same view.

Consult your tax adviser.

[Edited at 2017-08-01 07:18 GMT]


 

Kristina Wolf  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 12:45
Member (2004)
Spanish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, clarification Aug 1, 2017

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your input. Yes, I am aware of that interpretation. In the past I have claimed travel to Germany (from England) in consultation with the HMRC where I was not holidaying, but also not taking part in a conference, but networking on an informal basis and just staying in touch with the language (the Oxfordshire branch was providing a free consultation service at the time and they were happy with that).
I do go through an accountant here, but there aren't all that many translators in Australia (compared to Europe), so I was just trying to see if there was previous experience with that in this forum.

Kristina


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Wow Aug 1, 2017

Kristina Wolf wrote:

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your input. Yes, I am aware of that interpretation. In the past I have claimed travel to Germany (from England) in consultation with the HMRC where I was not holidaying, but also not taking part in a conference, but networking on an informal basis and just staying in touch with the language (the Oxfordshire branch was providing a free consultation service at the time and they were happy with that).
I do go through an accountant here, but there aren't all that many translators in Australia (compared to Europe), so I was just trying to see if there was previous experience with that in this forum.

Kristina


Wow - so if I go to Italy for no particular reason but just to see a few friends, buy books, visit places etc. (and speaking Italian, my target language, all the time) I can deduct all my expenses? And HMRC told you this would be fine?


 

Nicola Thayil
Australia
Local time: 12:45
French to English
Travel costs Aug 1, 2017

Hi Kristina

I have claimed airfares to France before - I have organised to attend events and have business meetings that I can justify.
Also 2 weeks or more in your other language country is part of revalidation for NAATI and I claimed this also as a professional development expense under language maintenance.
Regards
Nicola


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 12:45
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Not all Aug 1, 2017


Wow - so if I go to Italy for no particular reason but just to see a few friends, buy books, visit places etc. (and speaking Italian, my target language, all the time) I can deduct all my expenses? And HMRC told you this would be fine?


ATO is not 100% sure how much we can claim, not the whole amount anyway, but some of it, yes. As Nicola has pointed out, as accredited translators, every three years we go through a revalidation process, and one of the sections is called ''Language maintenance''. You get 10 points for 2 weeks or more spent in a country of your working language(s).


 

Kristina Wolf  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 12:45
Member (2004)
Spanish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Tom Aug 8, 2017

Hi Tom,

I think you should read my earlier response in detail. It wasn't holidaying and reading books, it was a different setup and I checked with the adviser that HRMC had in Oxford at the time and they were happy with that particular setup.

Kristina


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Hmmmm Aug 8, 2017

Kristina Wolf wrote:

Hi Tom,

I think you should read my earlier response in detail. It wasn't holidaying and reading books, it was a different setup and I checked with the adviser that HRMC had in Oxford at the time and they were happy with that particular setup.

Kristina


"....not taking part in a conference, but networking on an informal basis and just staying in touch with the language ..."

That's what I do when I go to Italy. But it isn't work. I'm impressed by the advice you were given by your local HMRC adviser, and I trust you have it in writing.

[Edited at 2017-08-08 08:22 GMT]


 

Kristina Wolf  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 12:45
Member (2004)
Spanish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Final clarification Aug 8, 2017

I can't remember whether I had it in writing. In any case this was some years ago and as I left the UK in 2012 and have official confirmation from the HRMC (this one in writing) that my file has been closed, I didn't keep the documents.
All I can suggest is that you check on the UK forum about similar experiences with CPD. It doesn't count as work, but as CPD. Also keep in mind that in my case it would have been only one flight from the UK to Germany a year. I was staying with family, so no other costs involved. That might have helped.


 


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