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Truckies get popular deductions back as ATO clamps down on ride-sharing

Truckies have been afforded a revised tax deduction for meal amounts, while the ATO turns its eyes to focus on the tax obligations of ride-sourcing drivers.

Truckies get popular deductions back as ATO clamps down on ride-sharing
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The tax office has reinstated the meal-by-meal approach for truck drivers who claim travel expenses for meals after consultation with the industry.

The reasonable amounts are $24.25 for breakfast, $27.65 for lunch and $47.70 for dinner. The amount for each meal is separate and cannot be combined into a single daily amount or moved from one meal to another.

Truck 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.

The ATO has said that it would continue working with trucking industry representatives on an agreed approach for 2018/19 and future years with a view to establishing a daily rate to further simplify record-keeping requirements for drivers.

Separately, assistant commissioner Tom Wheeler said the tax office has contacted close to 120,000 ride-sourcing drivers to alert them to possible compliance action for failing to meet their tax obligations.

“While it is different to traditional taxi travel because it is run through a facilitator via an app or a website, ride-sourcing is considered taxi-travel for GST purposes,” Mr Wheeler said.

“Our message to taxpayers is that if you have a ride-sourcing enterprise you must get an Australian Business Number and register for GST as soon as you start driving. You also need to include the income on your tax return at tax time.

“If drivers that we have been in touch with continue to ignore our prompts and don’t apply for an ABN and register for GST for their ride-sourcing enterprise, we will register them for GST and backdate that registration to the date of their first ride-sourcing payment. They will be required to lodge and pay all outstanding tax obligations. Penalties and interest may also be applied.”

Mr Wheeler said that drivers should be aware they can also claim tax deductions and GST credits in respect of their business expenses, such as fuel, servicing, and smartphone and data usage.

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