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Fresh Tax Ruling for Truckies’ Food Allowances

Backflip for Truckies’ Food Allowances…

The Australian Taxation Office has recently reversed a decision made regarding “reasonable rates” for overtime meal allowances. Rulings in this area typically affect people in jobs such as long-haul truck driving, but applies to everyone who receives a bona fide travel or meal allowance in the course of travelling overnight for work. For the 2018 income year, the ATO changed the rules for truck drivers, bringing in a total daily reasonable amount for food purchases, rather than the previous rules around individual meals. This approach has been rescinded, and is now back on a per-meal basis. As it stands, the reasonable rates sit at $24.25 for breakfast; $27.65 for lunch and $47.70 for dinner.

For truck drivers who consume meals whilst in the process of performing their duties, they are not required to comply with normal ATO record keeping rules, so long as their deductions are not in excess of what the ATO deems “reasonable” for that year. That being said, the ATO still expects that employees will maintain at least some receipts for their records. For example, truckies who drive a similar route regularly should maintain meal receipts for a representative period of 3 months.

Overall, this is positive news for truck drivers who deduct a meal allowance, as these relaxed substantiation rules takes some pressure off with regards to keeping every single receipt – let’s face it, they’ve got more important things to do.


Source: Knowledge Shop Tax Roundup; December 2017

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