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Prime Mover Magazine


Meal expenses for drivers revised by ATO

Truck drivers on local and long haul assignments will be eligible to claim revised meal expenses outside of work hours it was announced by the Australian Taxation Office.

Drivers who have purchased and consumed a meal during overtime or those that have received an overtime meal allowance under an industrial award for working overtime will again be able to claim, under an approved ‘reasonable amount’, up to $24.70 for breakfast, $28.15 for lunch and $48.60 for dinner. 

Slight increases have been made to the new amounts, which are higher than those for the financial year of 2017-18.

This follows a reversal by the ATO, who in July 2017 announced that truck drivers would only be able to claim $55.30 per day in meal allowances without detailed receipts.

Deductions for each meal are to be made from the amount spent and not the reasonable amount.

The ‘reasonable amounts’ are separate and cannot be combined into a single daily amount or carried over from one meal to another.

Truck drivers having received meal allowances from employers are not required to keep written receipts but will need to demonstrate the basis for their claims upon request.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA), the Australian Trucking Association and the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad)  – among other commercial transport industry groups – met with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to make a case as to why it should withdraw its 2017/19 Tax Determination.

This followed the Transport Workers Unions (TWU) expressing concerns over the ATO determination, which reduced the amount of “reasonable meal expenses” drivers were able to claim without substantiation by 43 per cent.

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