Employee truck drivers’ reasonable travel & meal expense amounts for 2020–21 income year released

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The Australian Taxation Office’s reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts for the 2020–21 income year for employee truck drivers has been released.

Reasonable amounts are given for meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). The amounts are for all domestic travel destinations (that is, capital cities, regional and country centres).

For the 2020–21 income year, the relevant amounts are:

  • Breakfast $25.75
  • Lunch $29.35, and
  • Dinner $50.65

The amounts for each of these meal breaks are separate and cannot be aggregated into a single daily amount. This is of particular importance for the days on which travel commences and ends, when some meals may not be deductible because they are not consumed in the course of work travel.

A driver’s work diary (as maintained for fatigue management purposes) can be used to demonstrate when meal breaks were taken, since employee truck drivers may take meal breaks at different times of the day compared to other taxpayers. It should also be noted that amounts can’t be moved from one meal to another (for example, if the full amount for breakfast is not expended, it cannot be carried over to lunch or dinner).

The deduction allowed for each meal is the amount actually spent and not simply the reasonable amount as above.  Although the formal substantiation requirements don’t apply for claims up to the reasonable amount, taxpayers should still be able to demonstrate the basis for their claims. All accommodation expenses and incidental expenses (for example, the cost of a shower) incurred by employee truck drivers as part of work-related travel must be substantiated with written evidence (for example, a receipt).

For more information see the ATO website.

If you have any questions, speak to a NatRoad adviser on (02) 6295 3000 or email [email protected].