Cents Per Kilometre Car Expenses

Cents Per Km is one of the methods you can choose to satisfy the substantiation rules for individuals claiming car expenses as a tax deduction.

The per kilometre car expense claim rate for 2020-21 is 72 cents per km for up to 5,000 business kilometres. For the 2021-22 year the rate remains the same at 72 cents per km. This claim method avoids the need to keep track of individual car expenses and receipts. A diary is recommended to keep track of the business kms.

Under this method, full substantiation (e.g. receipts for expenses) isn’t needed, however there must exist an objectively reasonable basis of facts to enable a claim.

Business kilometres are those travelled by car in the course of producing assessable income, or between work places. The cents per km claim is based on a per kilometre allowance for up to 5,000 business kilometres a year in total.

If more than 5,000 business kms is established, this claim method can still be used, but the excess over 5,000 kms is ignored.

Per Km rates Year by Year

YearRate per km
2021-2272 cents
2020-2172 cents
2019-2068 cents
2018-1968 cents
2017-1866 cents
2016-1766 cents
2015-1666 cents
2014-15 and earliersee tables below

Choosing The Per Km Set Rate Car Claim Method

Substantiation documents are not formally required for per km car claims. A claim for business kms is instead of calculating a claim for actual expenses, and covers all running expenses and depreciation.

This claim method only applies up to a maximum of 5,000 business kilometers. If business kms total more than 5,000, a claim can still be made, but is limited to the first 5,000 kms.

Although this claim method avoids the need to keep receipts, the Tax Office still requires some evidence supporting the reason for the claim.

A diary record would meet this objective, but certain other circumstantial evidence may suffice. If in doubt, talk to your accountant.

Once chosen there is no lock-in. Taxpayers can choose from year to year which car expense claim method to use. In an ideal world a full log book record would provide the best decision basis, even though that’s not required in the case of the per km method.

There is no balancing adjustment on the disposal of a car which has only been claimed on a per km basis.

Per kilometre – multiple claimants, multiple cars, joint owners

More than one car can be included in a claim for a financial year, and more than one person can conceivably make a claim in respect of the same vehicle used at different times.

For a useful explanation of joint and same-car claims, as well as some great log book and diary tips, see Bantacs Accountants “Claiming a motor vehicle” (PDF)

The per kilometre claim method doesn’t prescribe specific record-keeping requirements, but the claim has to be ‘reasonable’, and you need to be able to show some logical basis for the kilometres figure derived.

Per kilometre rates 2020-21 and 2021-22 (72¢) (MVE 2020/1)
Per kilometre rates 2018-19 and 2019-20 (68¢) (MVE 2018/1)

Motor vehicle cents per kilometre rates – 2015-16

Per Km rate for 2015-16 is 66 cents per km, which also applies for 2016-17 and 2017-18 (up to 5,000 km) regardless of engine size.

From 1 July 2015 a single flat rate per business kilometre is used for the cents/km claim method – regardless of engine size. The amending legislation is here.

The rates set in future years are intended to more closely reflect the actual operating cost of cars.

The claim is made out by first selecting the applicable Rate per Km, and then multiplying that by the number of kilometres (up to 5,000):

$Claim = Rate (cents) x Kms

Motor vehicle cents per kilometre rates – 2014-15

Engine Capacity
Non-RotaryRotaryRate Per Km
Up to 1,600ccUp to 800cc65 cents
1,601 to 2,600cc801 to 1,300cc76 cents
Over 2,600ccOver 1,300cc77 cents

Motor vehicle cents per kilometre rates – 2013-14

Engine Capacity
Non-RotaryRotaryRate Per Km
Up to 1,600ccUp to 800cc65 cents
1,601 to 2,600cc801 to 1,300cc76 cents
Over 2,600ccOver 1,300cc77 cents

Per Km Claims
For 2008-9, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13

Engine Capacity
Non-RotaryRotaryRate Per Km
Up to 1,600ccUp to 800cc63 cents
1,601 to 2,600cc801 to 1,300cc74 cents
Over 2,600ccOver 1,300cc75 cents

This page was last modified 2021-08-24