ATA draws on Linfox ruling to argue for fuel tax exemption


Truck lobby says fuel used to run sleeper cab air conditioners should be exempt from fuel tax

ATA draws on Linfox ruling to argue for fuel tax exemption
ATA draws on Linfox ruling to argue for fuel tax exemption
February 22, 2013

The fuel used to run sleeper cab air conditioners in long distance trucks should be exempt from fuel tax, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says.

The ATA has lodged its submission to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) on fuel tax credits for auxiliary equipment fitted to trucks and trailers, such as refrigeration units and cement mixers.

ATA CEO Stuart St Clair (pictured) says many long distance trucks with sleeper cabs are fitted with small air conditioning units that operate while the truck is stationary, the truck engine is off and the driver is resting.

"The Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled last year that only fuel used for travelling is subject to the 25.5 cents per litre road user charge," St Clair says.

"The fuel used to operate sleeper cab air conditioners is not used for travelling. It is used to regulate the sleeper cab temperature while the truck engine is off and the driver is resting. It should not be subject to the road user charge."

St Clair says the exemption will allow trucking operators to claim up to $300 in additional fuel tax credits per truck per year.

The submission also points to an ambiguity in the tax office’s current approach to fuel tax, highlighting the application of the carbon charge to the fuel used in a truck or its auxiliary equipment when it is not on a public road.

Trucking operators have been exempted from paying the carbon tax on fuel until July 1 next year, and the ATA says this should apply in all cases.

"In the ATA’s view, none of the fuel used by the heavy on-road transport industry, including fuel used off-road for incidental purposes, should be subject to the carbon charge under the existing legislation," St Clair says.

The submission argues the ATO should amend its guidance material to make it clear businesses can calculate the average hourly fuel consumption of equipment that takes power from the main engines of their trucks, such as cement mixers and waste industry vehicles.

The submission says the ATO should make it clear businesses can calculate the average hourly fuel consumption of equipment that takes power from the main engines of their trucks, such as cement mixers and waste industry vehicles, using tests or estimates based on established engineering procedures.

"In addition, the tax office should work with the trucking industry and industry associations to develop a schedule of standard percentages that businesses could use as a safe harbour to calculate the fuel used in this equipment," St Clair says.


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