In most situations, you can claim a deduction for work-related expenses when you incur the expense in doing your job and that the expense is not private. You must also have incurred the expense in the year you are claiming the deduction.
There are two commonly known types of truck driver’s short-haul and long-haul drivers. Short-haul is when the driver usually returns home at the end of a day’s work, whereas; long-haul drivers usually sleep away from home in the course of driving the truck.
Most truck drivers are paid an allowance and the most common allowance paid to truck drivers’ is overtime meal allowance, and travel allowances. Travel allowances ‘is an amount you receive that could reasonably be expected to cover your travel costs. Overtime meal allowance is received in order to hopefully cover the travel costs incurred whilst working overtime.
Travel allowance is different to living-away-from-home allowance. Living-away-from-home allowance is paid to cover your additional accommodation and meal costs when you live in a second home because your employer requires you to work away from your usual home for a long period to do your work. Living-away-from-home allowance is usually subject to fringe benefits tax and is not shown on your payment summary.
Regardless of how much travel allowance you receive you can only claim a deduction for the expense you paid. That is if you paid $100 in travel-related expenses but received a travel allowance of $200 you can only claim the $100. If you receive an overtime meal allowance you can only claim a deduction for meals purchased whilst you worked overtime.
When claiming a travel or overtime meal allowance, the ATO determines what it considers a reasonable rate where written substation is not required to make a claim.
When making a claim using the ATO reasonable rates you must consider these 3 key points:
1) Expenses claimed must have been incurred and be an allowable deduction.
2) The substantiation exception only applies if the employee is paid an overtime meal allowance or a travel allowance from their employer.
3) For travel allowance expenses, the employee must sleep away from home.
Other deductions to keep in mind are listed as follows for Truck drivers
- Parking, Parking fees, Tolls, Taxis and other public transport
- If you have to use your own car deductions can be claimed for this
- Uniforms, laundry, sun-protection, protective equipment
- Training courses
- Equipment, truck repairs, materials & Supplies, stationery
- Unions fees, bank fees, income protection insurance, tax agent fees, travel to tax agent costs
- Drug testing, weight charges
- Truck cleaning costs
- Working dog costs
- Other things to think of are:-
- Alarm clock
- Coffee maker
- Cab curtains
- Storage bins
- First aid supplies