Expenses for accommodation, food and drink expenses are normally private in nature and not deductible by employees. However, you can claim a deduction for accommodation, food, drink and incidental expenses you incur if you’re ‘travelling on work’ during COVID-19 and must quarantine.
Travelling on work means that you need to travel to perform your employment duties and must sleep away from your home overnight. If you must quarantine either during or after a trip while travelling on work, this would be an extension of the work-related trip. As such you undertake the quarantine as part of your employment duties.
If you are not travelling on work, your quarantine expenses are private in nature. No deduction is available for private quarantine expenses.
You also can’t claim a deduction for quarantine expenses you incur when you either:
- travel to or from a work location and need to quarantine
- need to quarantine for another purpose (for example, returning from a private holiday), even if you can work from the quarantine location.
The fact you were working or are able to work from a quarantine location, does not meet the definition of ‘travelling on work’.
If you incur expenses for both work purposes and private purposes, you will need to apportion your expenses. You can only claim the expenses that relate to your work activities.
Ato.gov.au. 2021. Quarantine expenses when travelling on work. [online] Available at: <https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Income-and-deductions/Deductions-you-can-claim/Vehicle-and-travel-expenses/Quarantine-expenses-when-travelling-on-work/> [Accessed 31 March 2021].