Tax deductions for Australian truck drivers are relatively straightforward. However, there are several common deductions you need to know about to ensure you get the best deal every year. We'll go over things you can claim and can't claim as a truck driver, below.
It is always important to start with the basic rules the ATO applies to taxpayers claiming work-related expenses. To claim a deduction for a work-related expense:
• you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
• the expense must be directly related to earning your income
• you must have a record to prove it
Common tax deductions for truck drivers can be broken down into different broad categories, making it easier to track everything when you lodge your taxes.
The categories include:
Clothing and Protective Equipment
• Costs of protective equipment, including:
- Headgear and goggles
- High-vis vests, jackets and trousers
- Overalls and gloves
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
• Dry cleaning and laundry costs of clothing or uniform that has a company logo
• Repair or purchase of clothing or uniforms with company logo
General Equipment Costs
• CB radio
• First aid equipment
• Mobile phone
• Portable refrigerator/cooler
• Stationery (diary, logbooks)
• Tablets and laptops
• Vehicle maintenance tools
• Work bag
Meals, Accommodation and Travel
• Incidental costs
• Meal costs when you work overtime
• Meal costs when you are working away from home (overnight trips)
• Accommodation costs when you train or work away from home
• Work-related travel or car expenses for travelling to pick up equipment, attending meetings, moving between depots, or training.
• Cleaning and general maintenance
• Depreciation of your truck (if you own it)
• Interest on truck loan (if you're buying the truck)
• Lease payments (If you're leasing the truck)
• Parking fees
• Registration and Insurance
• Running costs
• Truck repairs and parts
• Course-related expenses, including:
- Accommodation and meals (if the course requires an overnight stay)
- Books and training manuals
- Phone calls
- Tools and equipment required to undertake the course
- Travel costs
• Fees for university courses or short courses that directly relate to your work.
• Books and magazines related to your work
• Cost of new or renewing licenses or permits you have to have for work
• Fees for the union and membership
• Work-related internet connection fees and phone calls
On the other hand, there are several things that you can't claim deductions for as an Australian truck driver, and they include:
• If you sleep in your truck, you can't claim an accommodation deduction.
• You can't claim a deduction for travel between your home and work.
• You can't claim a deduction for audiobooks, CDs, iPods or other entertainment devices you use in your truck.
• If you pay for childcare when you work, you can't claim this as a deduction.
• You can't get a deduction for the cost associated with buying and cleaning plain clothing, heavy-duty conventional clothing or running/casual shoes.
• Your driver license expense isn't eligible.
• Expenses that have been reimbursed by your employer (unless they are included on your payment summary as allowances).
These are some of the most common tax deductions applicable to truck drivers, as well as a run-down of what you can't claim. You'll be able to take this information and use it to lodge your yearly taxes with ease and confidence!
Author – Tracy Baxendine
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