The Australian Taxation Office must reverse its decision to slash the amount it allows employee truck drivers to claim as travel expenses, the Chair of the ATA, Geoff Crouch, said today.
During the 2017-18 income year, the tax office will allow employee truck drivers to claim just $55.30 per day in travel expenses (excluding accommodation) without detailed receipts. In 2016-17, the amount allowed was $97.40.
Mr Crouch said the ATA and its members would fight the determination, because it made Australia’s truck drivers second class citizens.
“The ATA unequivocally supports all our member organisations in condemning this determination. There is absolutely no excuse for this unjustifiable attack by the ATO on Australian truck drivers,” Mr Crouch said.
“In the determination, the tax office increased the reasonable food and drink allowance for comparable employees in other industries from $106.90 per day to $109.35 per day.
“But the tax office decreased the allowance for truck drivers from $97.40 to $55.30, seemingly in the belief that today’s truck drivers fill up on soda and junk food.
“They couldn’t be more wrong.
“The industry is united behind the need to make sure our drivers can eat healthily and well. The meal allowance for truck drivers should be the same as the meal allowance for any other employee,” he said.
Mr Crouch categorically dismissed the ATO’s claim that it had consulted with industry bodies about the cut.
“This is simply not the case. If the ATO had consulted with industry, it would have known that this decision is an unfair assault on the hip pockets of hard-working Australians,” he said.
“Page 13 of the ATO’s own tax determination confirms that it was not issued as a draft before the tax commissioner signed it off on 3 July 2017.”
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