Yes, you can (almost) afford to eat at work….. ATO Meal Allowances Update

October 10, 2017

NatRoad is continuing to work closely with the ATO and other industry bodies to try and achieve a turnaround in relation to the ATO’s decision of July this year to reduce the daily amount of meal allowance expenses claimable by employee truck-drivers to $55.30.

This decision caused significant unease with NatRoad members and as such, we are pleased to report that our representations are being heard by the ATO. It now appears the ATO is very close to a decision about reinstating meal by meal amounts for the 2017/18 financial year. We hope to have a final decision on this issue by the 25th of October.

Responsibility for the original dilemma which led to the ATO’s policy change earlier this year has been attributed in some quarters to tax agents, who are commonly used by employee drivers in preference to accountants when filing their tax returns. NatRoad understands many tax agents made errors in the past when it came to meal allowance claims for employee drivers. Not surprisingly, this attracted the ATO’s attention to claims which appeared out-of-step with driver spend.

It is likely that if meal by meal claims are reinstated, drivers will need to provide evidence such as work diary/logbook entries, receipts, or bank statements if requested by the ATO to prove that their meal allowance claims are correct. Work diary entries, for example, could allow the ATO to substantiate employee claims by cross-checking with receipts or (general) diary records. The key to successful claiming is likely to be to report the amount actually spent up to the cap allowed by the ATO for each meal. But watch this space