Member Q&A – How do we classify private trips undertaken in a ‘workhorse’ vehicle that is carrying bulky equipment?


If an employee, who has full private use of a one tonne vehicle and who is required to carry bulky items (e.g. ladder, tools etc,) travels to various sites directly from his home, including during out of hours and on weekends, would those trips be eligible for home to work business travel?

The various sites would include non-work sites, eg children’s weekend sporting venues.


Transporting bulky equipment is one of the few exceptions to the general doctrine that home to work travel is private in nature. The following paragraphs are taken form Taxation Ruling TR 2021/1:

79. Where the nature of the employment creates a practical necessity, explained by work duties, to transport bulky equipment to and from a regular place of work (including to and from home to a regular place of work), the expenses of transporting that bulky equipment to and from that regular place of work may be deductible. It is construed by the Commissioner as a narrow exception to the ordinary principle that travel from home to a regular place of work is private and thus not deductible.

80. To come within this exception it is necessary that:
• the equipment is essential for the performance of the employee’s employment duties
• the equipment is bulky such that transportation by car or other private vehicle is the only realistic option, and
• transporting the items to and from their regular place of work is a practical necessity because there is no secure area for the storage of the equipment provided at the employee’s regular place of work or the equipment needs to be transported to a different site each day.

81. However, if equipment is transported by the employee as a matter of mere convenience or personal choice, the transport costs are private and no deduction is allowable.

Based on the above, it would seem the employees travel between home and work sites would be considered work-related travel provided there is no safe storage area at work for the equipment to be left, or if the employee is on-call and required to have the equipment readily accessible.

If there are private trips undertaken for non-work purposes (eg to non-work sites such as sporting venues on weekend), we would consider such trips do not fall within the above exception even in the situation where the employee is on-call.


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