What Expenses Can I Write Off If I’m Driving for Uber?

Uber Expenses

Every time I speak with other drivers, I get asked about this. Often the drivers are new, but experienced drivers are struggling with the answers on this topic as well since Uber tend to shy away from providing any assistance with this. I’m not a tax expert, but with a bit of research, and some advice from people in the know, I’ll cover here what I’ve discovered.

You should also read our articles on GST Obligations for Drivers and on Keeping a Logbook.

Mobile Phone and Service

Your mobile phone and the cost of mobile service are both expenses you should claim. It’s important to only claim the percentage of use that you attribute to being necessary to produce income. For many drivers, that may be 100%, and others much less. Look at your phone usage for a period and work out what you should be claiming. Also, any repairs to your phone such as a screen replacement can also be claimed. Bought a handsfree cradle? Claim it!

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Fuel

All of your fuel consumed while driving can be claimed. As long as you are on the road for the purpose of rideshare driving, passenger or not, ensure you keep track of your fuel usage.

Tolls

Tolls is a tricky one because you’re reimbursed for tolls incurred while on-trip, but since it’s included in your pay, you need to make sure you’re not taxed on that income, and that you claim back the GST you’ve paid. With the tolls not incurred on-trip, you can claim those too, as long as you incurred them as a result of being on the road for the purpose of earning income through rideshare.

Car Washes / Cleaning Supplies

Car washes can be difficult f you’re doing it yourself since you usually have no way of obtaining a tax receipt, so it’s important you find one which provides one. I personally go through an automatic one which issues a receipt and has an attendant on site in the instance that it doesn’t print. No receipt means = claimable expense.

With cleaning supplies, I occasionally wash my car by hand at home, so keep on hand and claim car wash solvent, Armor All, Tyre Shine, waxes, etc. I’m also careful to ensure I keep my tax receipts when I buy a new chamois or washing mitt.

Passenger Refreshments and Amenities

Mints, Mentos, lollies, water, and even tissues and Spotify subscriptions. If you’re providing any of these (or something similar) to passengers, it’s a claimable expense. Careful with the water though, it doesn’t attract GST so don’t count that in your offset amount against what you owe the ATO..

Car Servicing and Repairs

These are big ones, and although every expense counts, these ones are usually your biggest expenses and can make a big impact in offsetting the GST you will owe. I’ll also include in this section things like replacement globes for lights on your car, and any replacement fluids and parts you purchase for the car.

If you’re anything like me, you prefer to service your own vehicle rather than paying someone to do what you are comfortable doing yourself. If that’s the case, you can also claim any tools or related equipment you’ve had to purchase in order to keep your car finely tuned. Apart from tools, I know many drivers have purchased portable hand vacs that they keep in the car to tidy up the seats and floor after every few rides. You may also have bought a shop vac or similar. Both of these can also be claimed so long as their purpose was to enable you to continue earning income.

Vehicle Finance

Whilst you can’t claim your car payments unless you’re on a lease, you can claim the interest you’ve paid on a car loan, which also is subject to GST. You’ll need to get a statement at tax time from your lender, and this is standard for them to issue you one if you ask.

Vehicle Depreciation

The ATO provides you with a couple of different methods to claim depreciation on your vehicle. This is not something which is calculated week to week or month to month generally, but instead is worked out at when you prepare your annual tax lodgement. It is best to look at this link to work out which best suits your circumstances or speak to a tax professional.

Uber Fees

Since your income officially has to factor in the total of every trip, and not just your earnings (See our article on GST for explanation), you need to write off all of Uber’s fees so you’re not paying income tax on that. Uber’s payment statements break this down, and you can download invoices from them for your records as proof of the expense as well.

Summary

I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s all pretty straightforward, and essentially, that the overarching theme is that if you incurred any expense as a result of enabling you to produce income through rideshare, it’s generally claimable.

Again, make sure you read our articles on Keeping a Logbook and on GST Obligations for Drivers.

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Sam Griffiths

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