Road house blues
Tax office crackdown on truck drivers
Strewth! You've been driving all day in this heat with two trailers full to the brim and then your workmate Bruce catches you at the roadhouse waiving a letter. "What the frying pan in hell's kitchen do you call this balls up?". Moments later you finally catch on that Bruce, has just been audited by the tax office and "they've dragged me over the hot coals by the bluey singlet. Who do they think I am, a bloody croc dundee movie star?"
Turns out Bruce had been using a less-than-reputable tax man and claimed way too much in travel expenses. Two mixed grills later and Bruce confesses to not even spending as much as he was being paid for travel expenses. And most of the time, made it home so he didn't sleep over in the truck.
"Bruce, check this out" you say as you take out your new smartphone and google ATO Truck Drivers. "Says here mate, you've been doing it a bit wrong and you should follow these steps when claiming your expenses:"
- You must be paid travel allowance that could be reasonably expected to cover travel costs and not just a token amount.
- You must stay away from home to claim travel expenses.
- You must have incurred and paid for the expenses.
You don't need to substantiate expenses if you play it by the book and in fact you may be able to claim $95.40 per day in travel expenses. But the fine print says that you need to be able to show a basis for your claims by keeping the following records:
- Written evidence: invoices and receipts relating to travel allowance expenses incurred.
- Travel diary: documentation showing dates, places, times and duration of travel. Along with the name of the supplier, amount and type of expense incurred.
- Bank records: this may be used to help support the records of your travel diary where receipts are not available.
Or better yet, try the new Tax Office myDeductions App!
Bruce, is a little gobsmacked by the whole internet in your pocket concept and says "stone the crows, where you do you get your tax done?" "Well if I tell you, you better wash me truck for a week…."
"Bruce, the tax office guidelines are tricky but they are looking at simplifying things to make it easier. It's best if you give Logan & Hall Accountants a call on 03 5032 1121 and they'll help you get back on track."