ATO backlips on meal allowance cuts

The ATO has today reinstated the former meal allowance amounts for truck drivers, following close consultations with industry.


In July the tax office announced that employee truck drivers would only be able to claim $55.30 per day in meal allowances without detailed receipts, resulting in industry uproar.

The reasonable amounts have been returned to $24.25 for breakfast, $27.65 for lunch and $47.70 for dinner, but the amount for each meal is separate and can’t be combined into a single daily amount or moved from one meal to another.

The ATO will continue consultation 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.

ATA Chair Geoff Crouch says the revised determination will benefit 38,000 truck drivers, giving them the allowance they deserve.

"The new determination mean that truck drivers can claim, without detailed receipts, the same amount for meals as other comparable employees in what are called tier 2 and other country centres," Crouch said.

"One of the ATA’s highest priorities is to make sure that government agencies never treat truck drivers as second class citizens.

"We took this argument into our initial discussions with the tax office. The decision reflects our approach."

Mr Crouch emphasised that truck drivers could only claim for the amount they spent on a meal, despite the reasonable amount.

Crouch insists the ATA will direct its focus on discussions around the meal allowance amounts for 2018-19 and beyond.

"We want to work with the tax office to simplify the claiming system further.

"There were also a number of issues raised by our member associations and individual drivers in our consultations that we could not resolve in the urgent timeframe for getting this decision fixed," he said.

The industry groups responsible for this result are; Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation, National Road Transport Association, Australian Trucking Association, Victorian Transport Association, Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, Road Freight NSW, Transport Workers Union.

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