October 26, 2017 | 11:01am
NatRoad’s voice has enabled the ATO to reinstate a meal by meal amounts approach to claims for meal expenses for the 2017-18 year.
The meal amounts, published today by the ATO, are good news for employed truckies across the country. CEO of NatRoad, Warren Clark, today applauded the decision, “common sense has prevailed” he said.
“Rather than limit the reasonable amount an employee truck driver can claim to $55.30 the meal by meal approach will now apply.
“We thank the ATO for consulting with NatRoad and hearing the realities faced by the trucking industry. Today, everyone from the industry can celebrate an important win.
“This significant reversal will ease the mounting pressure already weighing on the shoulders of hard working truck drivers.”
The following separate amounts for each meal will apply from 1 July 2017:
“Importantly, I’d like to emphasise that employee drivers must continue to keep receipts for all meals and only claim for amounts actually spent, as opposed to the entire reasonable amounts specified” he said.
The ATO does not limit the amount a taxpayer can claim when travelling away from home overnight for work. Drivers do not have to keep receipts for every meal if their claim is no more than the reasonable amounts that the Commissioner publishes each year.
Drivers can only claim for amounts actually spent and not just the Commissioner’s reasonable amount. Should drivers be asked to explain their claims, records such as bank statements for purchases can be relied on to show how much was spent and work diaries could be produced to prove an overnight stay..
The ATO have advised that consultation will continue on an agreed approach for the 2018/19 year and future years with a view to establishing a daily rate and to further simplify record keeping requirements for drivers.
They will also implement compliance approaches that ensure that any truck drivers who followed the daily amount approach of $55.30 outlined in July are not disadvantaged.