What constitutes “Days Unavailable for Private Use”?
The Australia Taxation Office (ATO) considers that a vehicle is not available for private use when the employee or associates of the employee do not have access to the vehicle and do not have access to the vehicle keys. The rules and criteria that govern “Days Unavailable” are strict and it is often difficult to properly substantiate “Days Unavailable”. The ATO requires for a vehicle to be securely stored at the employer’s premises or an alternate premises which has a formal arrangement with the employer. This arrangement requires the storage facility to store the vehicle and to prohibit the employee from having access for private use of the vehicle. The vehicle keys should also be retained in the possession of the employer or the approved storage facility. The employer needs to maintain a log to record the dates when the vehicle is stored and collected. It is not possible to claim part days. The vehicle must be unavailable for periods greater than 24 hours from midnight to midnight. This immediately precludes inclusion of days when vehicles are stored and collected. It may be possible to claim “Days Unavailable” for periods when a vehicle is in a repair shop due to an accident. It is generally not possible to claim when vehicles are undergoing scheduled services or voluntarily placed into panel beaters or mechanical repairs. For more information please refer to the ATO rulings and contact your employer to ensure you properly understand the tax guidelines and your employer’s policies.