The purpose of this statement is to provide guidelines on the authorised use of the Leisure Accommodation and Venue Hire Card (LAC) and to communicate to employees the audit procedure and sanctions that will apply if the LAC is used by an employee to pay for unauthorised expenses.
Employees should note that on application for an LAC they are declaring that the LAC will only be used for leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses.
Strict adherence to this policy and procedure statement is a condition of use of the LAC and is required to ensure that the LAC complies with ATO rules.
The LAC is provided to employees as part of the salary packaging arrangements. The LAC can only be used to pay for qualifying leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses as illustrated in the following and can include expenses incurred in Australia or overseas. The expenses need to be incurred whilst you are on holidays or undertaking similar leisure time pursuits. The accommodation costs can be anything from an overnight stay to an extended overseas holiday.
1. Examples of expenses that are likely to be leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses
• Use of a hotel/motel room in a hotel/motel facility
• Use of a cabin or on-site van at a caravan park
• Use of a room in a bed and breakfast facility
• Hire of a private function room at a club or similar facility for a family celebration or similar leisure time pursuit
2. Examples of expenses that are not likely to be leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses
• The cost of food, drink, travel or any other costs associated with the accommodation (for example, laundry, room service, mini-bar, in-house movies, etc)
• The cost of food, drink or waiter service associated with venue hire
• Leisure accommodation expenses incurred while travelling for work related purposes
3. What an employee should do if they are not sure if an expense is a leisure accommodation and venue hire expense
If an employee is not sure that an expense is a leisure accommodation and venue hire expense, the employee should not pay for it with the LAC. An employee can of course pay for such expenses with their Employee Benefits Card (Everyday Purchases), if they have one.
4. What an Employee can’t pay for with the LAC?
Employees should also note that the following transactions are not permitted with the LAC:
• Periodical payments or direct debits cannot be set up on the card.
• The card cannot be used to withdraw cash; e.g. from ATMs, or when making EFTPOS transactions.
5. How are overseas transaction charges on the card treated?
The LAC may be used to pay for qualifying leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses incurred overseas. However if used overseas, all transactions will incur a foreign currency transaction fee which will be separately identified on the LAC monthly statement. Because these fees are bank charges and not leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses, they do not qualify for the taxation concession available for leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses. Accordingly, if the LAC is used to pay for leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses overseas, any foreign currency transaction charges will be recovered by the organisation from an employee’s after tax salary.
The following outlines the audit procure and sanctions that will apply for unuathorised use of the LAC.
1. Employees will be randomly selected each year and requested to submit for audit their last month’s card statement provided by Westpac.
2. Employees will need to provide hand written annotations on any items appearing on the statement that are not obviously leisure accommodation and venue hire expenses from the entry appearing on the statement.
3. The annotation needs to clearly explain the leisure accommodation and venue hire expense connection (e.g. for birthday party on such and such date at)
4. The organisation may request further information from the employee where the information provided together with the statement is not adequate.
5. Employees need to write at the end of the statement the following:
“I declare that the hand written annotations on this statement are true and correct”
Employees should then sign their name and enter the date signed.
Sanctions for Unauthorised Use of the LAC
Employees are hereby put on notice that in the event of the use of the LAC to pay for unauthorised expenses, the organization may cancel the employee’s card without further notice and disqualify the employee from applying for another LAC for a period of time determined at the discretion of the organisation.