Tax tips for Truck drivers
Tax tips for Truck drivers
Author: Abdimalik Hassan
June 23, 2021 · 5 min read
Tax tips for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are the backbone of our economy. Without trucks Australia stops moving. Many truck drivers are unaware of the substantial deductions they are eligible for, even minor deductions can add up to a big return.
Our tax professionals over at Immunity Accounting have created a check list for truck drivers to complete with every deduction you can and cannot claim, as well as extra useful information to make your tax season go smoothly.
All you will needing to get started is your annual payment summary. This document is often filed directly by your employer to the ATO so you may not have a physical copy, however that won’t stop you getting started as your income statement can be accessed with ease through the ATO.
Am I eligible for any deductions?
As a Truck Driver you are eligible to claim a range of deductions for money you have spent for the purpose of your employment during the financial year. This can include products and services as well as many at-home costs you may be unaware are claimable.
This only includes money that will NOT been reimbursed to you through your employer directly.
Let us break down your entitlements below:
What deductions am I eligible to claim?
There is a wide selection of deductions you are eligible for, these include:
- You can claim the cost of any cleaning and repairs of the truck that are incurred. This is only if your employer does not provide this service or reimburse you the cost directly.
- Any transport expenses you incur such as parking fees and tolls. For example if you are driving between job or work locations, this can also include taxi fares if you have reached your maximum driving hours for the period, however this does not include commute costs only the travel costs incurred during your work hours.
- Costs associated with medical examinations can be directly claimed back for any health assessments required to be deemed fit to work. This does not include medical examinations paid for by your employer.
- Any meals you purchase while you are travelling overnight or in overtime can be claimed back for their total cost. This may be covered under a meal allowance, however if the allowance does not cover your costs you can claim the difference.
- Any expenses for overnight travel such as accommodation, sleeping equipment, showers and meals can be claimed. This applies only in the event you pay for these expenses yourself.
- The cost of repairing, for example cleaning or buying company specific clothing items can be claimed. This includes any company uniforms or protective gear that is required for your work. These items must be specific to your job such as having the company logo on them.
- You can claim the total cost of any self-education you undertake as long as it was a requirement for your workplace. This includes training seminars, certification courses or renewal costs.
- The cost of any office supplies you may use such as notepads, logbooks, pens or pencils. If they are used for your job.
- The cost of any sun protection gear can be claimed back for their total cost such as sun-hats, sunscreen or sunglasses (This includes prescription lenses for your sunglasses.)
- If you incur any costs to your phone or internet services as a result of your job then you can claim back part of the cost of these services on your return.
- If you require a work dog for your job such as transporting cattle or livestock then you can claim the cost of acquiring this dog on your taxes.
What deductions can’t I claim?
There are many deductions that you are not entitled to, these include:
- You cannot claim the cost of your driver’s licence renewal even if it is mandatory to perform your work.
- You cannot claim back the cost of any entertainment you may buy to keep you awake or occupied during long drives. This includes books, iPods, CDs or other entertainment devices.
- The cost of seat covers, air fresheners or other decorations to your truck.
- Any speeding tickets or other fines that you incur during your workday cannot be claimed.
- The cost of meals, snacks or drinks that you incur throughout your day cannot be claimed, even if your employer provides you with a meal allowance.
- Regular clothing costs such as jeans or t-shirts cannot be claimed, even if you wear them for work.
- Any entertainment costs you incur whilst travelling overnight or away from home such as the cinema, seeing a show, etc.
Records – The Most Important Step
Good record keeping is the backbone of any successful tax return and keeping good records can often net you a higher return in the end. It provides our tax professionals with more ways to maximise your return.
It’s a good idea to always keep receipts, bank statements, credit card statements, invoices or even a logbook if you plan to claim travel costs.
Remember: You do not always need physical records. It is perfectly acceptable to keep a digital copy instead. As long as the following information is present:
- The name of the supplier
- Amount of the expense
- Nature of the goods or services
- Date the expense was paid
- Date of the document
Important: You don’t need to keep receipts for expenses under $10, however if these expenses add up to more than $200 on your return, records will be required to back your claim.
I’ve made a mistake on my return – What do I do?
It’s important not to panic. We all make mistakes and the ATO understands this. They won’t suddenly break down your door for a minor mistake on your tax return.
If you think you’ve made a mistake on your return it’s vital you attempt to amend it as soon as possible. This will help you to avoid any penalties incurred from prolonged mistakes on your tax return.
In the event you’ve made a mistake, you can reach out to the ATO directly or contact our taxation professionals over at Immunity Accounting. We’ll be happy to help fix up your return and get you the biggest value from those deductions possible.
IMMUNITY ACCOUNTING CAN HELP
To find out more speak to one of our tax consultants by clicking this link to book an appointment online or call 1300 514 191.