A taxpayer has been unsuccessful before the AAT in relation to deduction claims for work-related car expenses and for work-related travel expenses (ie meals and accommodation) for the 2011-12 income tax year.

The taxpayer contended he was entitled to the deductions under s 8-1 of the ITAA 1997 on the basis that he was an itinerant worker and that the expenses were incurred by him in gaining or producing his assessment income. He also argued that he was entitled to rely on Taxation Ruling TR 95/34 (Employees carrying out itinerant work – deductions, allowances and reimbursements for transport expenses), and that, by virtue of s 357-60 of Sch 1 to the TAA, the Commissioner was bound to apply the ruling if the law turns out to be less favourable to him. That is, the taxpayer claimed to be protected from any adverse fiscal consequences because of the public ruling issued by the Commissioner.

The AAT affirmed the Commissioner’s decision holding that the taxpayer was not entitled to the deduction claims. The AAT held the taxpayer was not an itinerant worker and that his reliance on the Commissioner’s public tax ruling was “misplaced”.

(Re Hill and FCT [2016] AATA 514, AAT, File No: 2015/2604, Lazanas SM, 21 July 2016.)