A site surveyor has been unsuccessful before the AAT in claiming meal expenses in excess of his overtime meal allowance.

The main facts were these.

  • Under an industrial agreement, the taxpayer was entitled to a meal allowance, when he worked overtime, for one half hour or more, after working his ordinary hours, which were 8 hours every weekday.
  • He was paid an overtime meal allowance 107 times during the 2012-13 income year totalling $1,608.
  • The allowance was assessable and the ATO allowed a deduction for the same amount (but no more).
  • The taxpayer, however, claimed a deduction of $8,130 for overtime meal expenses incurred on 300 days.
  • He said that he bought breakfast when he was required to start working at 5.30 am, breakfast and lunch on Saturdays and dinner on the way home.
  • The Commissioner allowed deductions up to the $1,608 amount of the assessable meal allowance.

The AAT rejected the claim as the taxpayer did not provide the required written evidence to substantiate his claim. Furthermore, there were about 215 ordinary working days (not 300) from Monday to Friday plus 40 Saturdays during the 2012-13 year.

The AAT observed that “merely because a taxpayer received a meal overtime allowance did not entitle them to claim a deduction for a ‘reasonable amount’ for meals”.

(Mitchell v CofT [2018] AATA 2507, AAT, File No: 2017/5618, Hespe SM, 27 July 2018).

FJM 19.8.18

[LTN 147, 2/8/18; Tax Month – August 2018]


Comprehension questions (answers available)

  1. Was the taxpayer paid an assessable meal allowance of $1,608 in the 2012-13 year?
  2. Did he claim deductions for more than this?
  3. Did he succeed?


About the author