ATA: Exempt sleeper cab air conditioners from fuel tax

The fuel used to run sleeper cab air conditioners should be exempt from fuel tax, the Australian Transport Association (ATA) said in a submission to the tax office last week. According to an ATA report, this would enable trucking operators to claim up to $300 in additional fuel tax credits per truck per year.

“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,” ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair said. “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. As a result, it should not be subject to the road user charge.”

The submission argues that the most important ambiguity in the tax office’s current approach to fuel tax relates to the carbon charge.

“In the ATA’s view, the tax office should definitively rule that 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,” Stuart said.

“The ATA’s view is based on commercial practice in the trucking industry, and also on the Government’s policy intent when it introduced its Clean Energy Legislative Package. The submission demonstrates that Government’s intent was to exempt the trucking industry as a whole from the carbon charge until mid-2014, not just the fuel it uses on public roads.”

To claim fuel tax credits, businesses need to show how they have used their fuel. The submission argues that the AAT decision raises issues for businesses with equipment that takes power from the main engines of their trucks, such as cement mixers and waste industry vehicles.

“The tax office should amend its guidance material to make it clear that businesses can calculate the average hourly fuel consumption of power take off equipment by using tests or estimates based on established engineering procedures,” Mr St Clair said.

“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,” he said.

Leave a Reply

  1. Australian Truck Radio Listen Live
Send this to a friend