Wait on ATO’s flip

In­dus­try con­tin­ues its dis­cus­sions with ATO on claims

Big Rigs - - NEWS -

DRIV­ERS are still in the dark on the sub­stan­ti­ated claim thresh­old, as they await the out­come of in­dus­try ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The in­dus­try is seek­ing to re­verse a de­ter­mi­na­tion which slashed the ex­penses a driver claim with­out re­ceipts for rea­son­able travel ex­penses by 43%.

NatRoad Ad­viser, Com­pli­ance and Work­place Re­la­tions Richard Calver said driv­ers should sit tight for now.

“First of all keep those work di­aries – we are in dis­cus­sions with the ATO about the amount you can claim with­out sub­stan­ti­a­tion,” Mr Calver said.

The groups of in­dus­try bod­ies rep­re­sented in the ne­go­ti­a­tions have been in­formed the ATO is considering a split of the amount into a max­i­mum amount of what can be claimed for breakfast lunch and din­ner with­out sub­stan­ti­a­tion.

“So long as you are paid an al­lowance, are re­quired to stay over night and have spent that money,” he said.

“So they are considering our po­si­tion that is be $99.60, in­stead of the lower amount.”

While the con­ver­sa­tions now be­tween the two par­ties have moved into an am­i­ca­ble to-and-fro, in stark con­trast to the ini­tial re­sponse when many driv­ers and as­so­ci­a­tions were left un­aware of the reg­u­la­tory switch.

“It was pretty poor, you can’t sugar coat this, they said it was to sim­plify the pro­cess for truck driv­ers – it didn’t re­ally,” he said.

“It con­fused ev­ery­one and peo­ple wanted to know why on earth driv­ers were treated like this.

“The issue is now get­ting back to some sort of equi­lib­rium with the tax of­fice to get the amounts back on track and have an am­i­ca­ble out­come, one that will lead to fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion and break that nexus.”

Mr Calver said there was also a need for in­dus­try to be bet­ter ed­u­cated about what these al­lowances mean.

“We need a lot more ed­u­ca­tion about what is re­quired,” he said.

“This is be­cause driv­ers have a high num­ber of ad­just­ments or cor­rec­tions to tax re­turns, even though 80% of those au­dited had been sub­mit­ted through a tax agent.

“So it is a sys­temic prob­lem and the tax agents them­selves not know­ing the rules, not just our truck driv­ers.”

An out­come is ex­pected in October.

PHOTO: NEWSCORP

MEAL AL­LOWANCE: Driv­ers were shocked when their claim thresh­old for overnight ex­penses was slashed.

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