• Finance minister Tito Mboweni has increased the tax-free amount South Africans can claim for work-related travel in their own vehicles. 
  • At the same time, the amount South Africans can claim for food and work-related occasional expenses has also increased; it now stands at R452 per day.
  • International work-related travel expenses have, however, remained unchanged. 
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The amount South Africans can claim for work-related travel with their own vehicles within tax rules has increased from R3.61 to R3.98 per kilometre at the beginning of March, for those using the simplified cost scale.

And the maximum tax-free claim for work-related occasional expenses, such as meals, increased to R452 per day. 

Finance minister Tito Mboweni released the adjusted guidelines used by South African Revenue Service (Sars) in the government gazette the past week where he introduced the roughly 10% increase.

The adjusted amount does not include additional parking or toll fees, and is effective from 1 March.

Also read: SARS will now use artificial intelligence to make ‘it hard and costly’ to dodge tax

Many South African companies set the amount of money employees can claim for work-related travel according to the Sars guidelines - avoiding extra paperwork and additional taxes.

The simplified rate of R3.98 is available for claims that relate to actual kilometres travelled for work purposes, and does not require the more complex calculations required where employees are given an advance, or allowance, against which actual costs are not claimed. 

For local travel you can now spend up to R452 on food per day.

At the same time, Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter adjusted the tax-free amount South Africans can claim for work-related accommodation and food. 

Food and occasional costs up to R452 per day can now be claimed for travel within South Africa. Where food is provided, the limit for incidental costs now stands at R139 per day.

For travel and accommodation outside of South Africa, Sars kept the claim amounts unchanged.

The amounts differ depending on the country being visited, and are calculated in their local currency. For example, for travel in the United Kingdom, South Africans can claim a maximum amount of £102 per day, in the United States a maximum of $146, and in France a maximum of €128.

See also: Anyone can be subjected to a Sars lifestyle audit – here’s what to expect