Of all Australian blue-collar occupations, it seems Truck Drivers have the most to gain at tax time yet year on year they miss key deductions and receive average to low tax refunds.
Why? Quite simply it is ignorance. If you don’t have a tax pro with experience in the trucking industry many deductions are easily missed, especially for long haul drivers who are away from home frequently.
(Before you read on: Note that Accountants Direct have a number of Tax Accountants with years of experience of doing truckies tax. Want us to see if you are getting all you can get – then check out our truckies testimonials here.
Everyone knows that truck maintenance and repairs and general running expenses can be claimed on your tax return. But there is a stack of other things often forgotten like protective clothes & hats, food, lodgings, memberships, training, etc.
Here’s a general list (but we’ve kept a few secret ones to discuss with you only so we don’t tip off our competitors!)
Everyone can claim there ones but we find them often left off the return including bona fide donations, tax agent fees (unless you foolishly do your own tax – sorry) and interest of work related assets (more on this later).
Firstly, meals are regularly underclaimed and can significantly add to your refund specifically meal costs when working overtime or whilst away overnight. You can also claim for travel between jobs, depots, even training or meetings, and if carrying bulky tools you may be able to claim home to work travel.
Another forgotten deduction – If you’ve done any training relating to your current job whatsoever you can claim the cost of that and the incidental costs like travel, phone, lodging, books and manuals and tools etc.
Clothing and ‘protective’ equipment.
This is usually claimed fairly well and includes anything that helps you stay safe like your Hi Vis gear, boots, masks (Covid or otherwise) even sunnies and sunscreen. If you have a uniform with a logo you can also claim that including the laundry.
Your Truck (and other vehicles)
The more obvious expenses are sometimes forgotten and include rego, repairs, parts, cleaning (and cleaning materials) maintenance and other running costs. Among the often-missed deductions are vehicle lease payments (yes we are surprised too) and interest and depreciation (or it simply isn’t calculated properly).
Parking and tolls fees are missed regularly and often add up to thousands of dollars as are licences and renewals, union and membership rates, books and magazines and even phone and internet charges!
You can really claim anything that assists you in earning your trucking income including your onboard fridge, radio, bedding, PC and comms equipment such as your phone (and dash and cab mounts etc), first aid kits, stationery. A big one is proper logbook maintenance and there are loads of cool new electronic gadgets, like this one that will record your work milage automatically and report it to your phone and your accountant.
The items we are not disclosing here.
You will have to contact us these items that are usually forgotten even by inexperienced tax agents!
It’s quite amazing the number of drivers who fail to do the basic things, like keeping and categorising their receipts. (We suggest even to open a new bank account and pay all possible work expenses from there – then we work out what’s claimable etc later from your statements)
*Loads of expenses can only be claimed if you keep a receipt or can prove the purchase is yours please seek our advice before making claims as you could be subject to an ATO audit.
Stephen is the CEO of Accountants Direct and is a Professional Director, ASIC Agent, Startup Advisor & Investor & Capital Raising Specialist.
Contact Stephen or his team if you have any questions about this post or any business matter in general.