No appeal on refrigerated trailer fuel tax decision

Tribunal finding in Linfox case stands as tax office accepts fuel for refrigeration unit differs from fuel for prime mover

October 22, 2012

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has folded its hand on whether or not the amount of the fuel tax credit for fuel acquired for use in a heavy vehicle refrigeration unit is reduced by the road user charge.

An August 7 Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) finding in Linfox’s favour put 25.5 cents a litre for fuel used for trailer refrigeration units back into the pockets of operators who run them, according to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

This would have been put in jeopardy had the ATO appealed.

The relevant subsection of the Fuel Tax Act provides that: "To the extent that you acquire, manufacture or import taxable fuel to use, in a vehicle, for travelling on a public road, the amount of your fuel tax credit for the fuel is reduced by the amount of the road user charge for the fuel."

Linfox, an ATA member, had argued that the fuel was for refrigeration and not for "travelling on a public road".

"The road user charge did not apply to the fuel used to power auxiliary equipment, regardless of whether it comes from a separate tank or the main tanks of a vehicle," the ATA says.

"The tax office will consult with stakeholders on how operators can apportion their fuel purchases between the fuel used to power vehicles and the fuel used to run auxiliary equipment."

"The tax office has invited is also seeking advice on whether its decision may have consequences it has not identified and if any public rulings or interpretive decisions need to be amended."

The deadline for comments is November 14.

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