As a truck driver who might be considering lodging a tax return this year, this post is designed to help you understand all the income and work-related deductions that you need to be aware of.
The ATO defines a ‘truck’ as a heavy or large vehicle that is used for the transportation of goods or articles. Local drivers, long and short-haul drivers fall under a slightly different classification.
Allowances and Salary
If you are employed, then your employer is obliged to provide you with a payment summary or income statement that details your wages, salary, and your allowances for the complete financial year. In some cases, an employer will not include various allowances on your statement. This could be travel or meal-related allowances, but they should always be present on your individual payslips.
When completing a tax return, you will need to include ALL of the income you received for that tax year, regardless of when you earned it. If you receive any bonus payments, then these will need to be included under your salary and wages section.
Allowances for truck drivers are sometimes offered as a way to compensate you for an aspect of your work, such as carrying undesirable or heavy goods. Allowances for truck drivers are also given to help you pay towards the cost of various expenses, such as meals when you work overtime. These allowances need to be included within the income section of your tax return.
If you spend the full amount of an allowance on a deductible expense, then you should not include this. If you spend more than your allowance, then you can include this on your tax return.
You do not need to detail any reimbursements you may have received. For instance, if your employer pays you the full amount back for any expenses you may have incurred, then the payment is classified as a reimbursement, rather than an allowance.
If you incur work-related expenses as a truck driver, then you might be able to claim a deduction on your tax return. A work-related expense is an expense you incur on items you need to buy for use to help you earn a living as a truck driver only.
The rules for work-related expenses are below:
- It must be an expense that is directly related to earning your income.
- You must have paid for it yourself without any reimbursement.
- You must have a record of the expense.
Examples of Typical Expenses for Truck Drivers
Here are some practical examples of the types of expenses truck drivers claim for.
The cost of hiring, buying, repairing, or even cleaning certain items of clothing that are unique to your job or the environment you work in. Protective clothing is also included.
If you drive to and from a different workplace for the same employer on the same day, such as travelling between different depots. Or, you drive to two different employers.
If you need to do any overnight travel, or you pay out for meals, travel, fares, car parking, or and incidental expenses; you can claim these are part of your travel expenses. However, if you sleep in your truck or your employer pays for your accommodation, then you cannot claim any accommodation expenses.
Phone and Internet Expenses
If your employer asks you to use your own device for work purposes, then you can claim a work-related portion of these expenses only.
Other Work-Related Expenses
As long as this is an expense that is directly related to your employment, you can claim it as a work-related expense. For instance, restraining ropes, union fees, self-education that helps you earn more money or protective equipment such as sunscreens or sunglasses.