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The AAT has upheld the Commissioner's decision (given in a private ruling) that an allowance paid by the taxpayer to one of its employees, Mr Adam Brown, was not a living-away-from-home allowance (LAFHA) and so a benefit within the meaning of s 30 of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (FBTA Act).

On behalf of the taxpayer, Mr Brown submitted that the allowance had been paid to him as compensation for additional expenses he incurred by reason that he was required to live away from his usual place of residence in rented accommodation in order to perform the duties of his employment with the taxpayer. He had been required to do that, he submitted, by virtue of the increase in the hours he was required to attend his place of work which was located some 60 kilometres from the place where he had lived while working fewer hours. These submissions were rejected by the AAT, stating that "a reasonable person would conclude that Mr Brown chose to reside in accommodation that was closer to his place of work during the week but that he was not required to do so in order to perform the duties of his employment with [the taxpayer]."

The Compass Group (Vic) Pty Ltd as Trustee for White Roche and Associates Hybrid Trust and Commissioner of Taxation [2008] AATA 845 (AAT, Forgie DP, 22 September 2008).

For a copy of the decision, go here.

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