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If you regularly use your car or other vehicle in your business and you have not kept a log book, you may be missing out on significant deductions.

Recording your vehicle's travel details in a logbook will allow you to claim your vehicle's running costs (Fuel, Repairs, Insurance, Rego etc) in accordance with the usage of the vehicle for day care purposes.

In order to comply with tax office requirements a logbook must be kept for a continuous period of at least 12 weeks and contain the following information:

    - when the logbook period starts and ends, and the odometer readings at these times
    - the total number of kilometres the car travelled during the logbook period
    - the number of kilometres travelled for work during the logbook period based on the journeys recorded for
      the period
    - the business use percentage for the period.

Entries in the logbook for each business trip must be made at the end of the journey (or as soon as possible afterwards) and show the:

    - date the journey began and ended
    - odometer readings at the start and end of the journey
    - kilometres travelled on the journey
    - reason for the journey.

Your records must also show the make, model, engine capacity and registration number of the car.

Log Book Templates

Click Here for an example template.

You can also find convenient glove box / pocket sized log books in newsagents and stationery stores.

How often do you need to keep a log book?

Your logbook is valid for five years. A new logbook must be kept after the end of the 5 year period or if your usage changes by more than 10%.  For example,  If your claim relates to the 2010-11 income year and you have not kept a logbook since 2005-06, you must have kept a new logbook for 2010-11. If you did not keep a new logbook for 2010-11 you cannot use the logbook method.

If this is the first year you are using this method, you must have kept a logbook during 2010-11. It must cover at least 12 continuous weeks. If you started using your car for work-related purposes less than 12 weeks before the end of the year, you can extend the 12-week period into 2011-12.

Are there any additional record keeping requirements?

While you only need to keep a log book once every five years, you will need to keep full written evidence of all your fuel, insurance, repairs and any other running costs you would like to claim as a deduction for all of the applicable income years.
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