Overtime Meals Allowance

An overtime meals allowance should normally be itemised on your annual payment
summary, identified separately (and in addition to) your gross wages.
When itemised in this way, it should be declared as income in your tax return, but if
you have worked overtime, and subject to the following conditions, it may be
claimable as a tax deduction.
Reasonable Overtime Meal Allowances as determined by the Commissioner of
Taxation (updated annually) are:
 for 2018-19 $30.60 per meal
 for 2017-18 $30.05 per meal
 for 2016-17 $29.40 per meal
Allowances for earlier years are set out in the table below.
If you work overtime, you can claim a deduction for overtime meal expenses (food
and drink) if..
 you purchased a meal when you worked overtime and
 you received an overtime meal allowance under an industrial award for working
Claiming a tax deduction for meals
Where the tax deduction claimed is no more than the reasonable allowance
amount, written evidence is not required in support of the claim. However, you could
still be required to demonstrate the genuine basis of the claim, by showing how it was
worked out, and the work circumstances.
If you have received an overtime meals allowance which is not shown on your
payment summary, it does not have to be declared as income in your tax return
 you have spent all the allowance on deductible expenses and
 you do not make any claim for the expenses in your tax return.
Claims for more than the allowance
Claims which are for more than the reasonable amount, must be fully substantiated –
supported by written evidence.
If an amount for overtime meals has been paid to you as an unspecified part of your
normal salary or wages, it is not considered to be an overtime meal allowance. (In
that case, it would also not normally be itemised on your payment summary and does
not need to be separately declared in your tax return).
There is a strict requirement that a claimed allowance be specifically referenced to an
Award requirement – as this AAT case shows. The overtime meal allowance had been
found to be a mere apportionment of the taxpayer’s gross salary, without the specific
award-based connection, and the claimed deduction was therefore disallowed.
The relationship between overtime worked and the claimed meals was examined in
this AAT case, which resulted in the taxpayer’s claim for a deduction of more than
$8,000 based on a calculation of the Commissioner’s reasonable rates for 2012 (6
days x 50 weeks x $27.10) scaled back to $1,608, being the amount of overtime
meal allowances which had been included in the taxpayer’s assessable income.
Annual Rulings
Each financial year the ATO updates the “Reasonable Overtime Meal Allowance
Amount” (see Reasonable Travel Allowances)
Reasonable Overtime Meal Allowance
Year Amount per meal
2018-19 $30.60
2017-18 $30.05
2016-17 $29.40
2015/16 $28.80
2014/15 $28.20
2013/14 $27.70
2012/13 $27.10
2011/12 $26.45
2010/11 $25.80
2009/10 $24.95
2008/09 $23.60
2007/08 $22.60
2006/07 $21.90
2005/06 $21.10
2004/05 $20.55
2003/04 $19.75
2002/03 $19.15
2001/02 $18.50
2000/01 $17.90
1999/2000 $16.20
1998/99 $15.00
1997/98 $15.00
1996/97 $15.00
1995/96 $15.00
Tax Withholdings on Overtime Meals Allowances
Tax is not required to be withheld from award overtime meal allowances unless they
are more than the reasonable amounts set by the Tax Office each year. To be exempt
from tax deductions, the allowance must be paid under an industrial instrument
in connection with overtime worked.

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