Fuel used in truck sleeper cab air conditioners now tax free

A new tax office ruling issued this month will allow trucking businesses to claim back 100 per cent of the tax on the fuel used in truck sleeper cab air conditioners. According to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), trucking businesses could save up to $300 per truck per year.

ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair said the tax office ruling agreed with the ATA’s view that the fuel used in sleeper cab air conditioners was not for travelling. “The ATA argued in February that the fuel used in a sleeper cab air conditioner is used to cool the sleeper cab while the truck is stationary, its engine is off and the driver is resting,” he said.

“We pointed out that it is not used ‘for travelling,’ which is now the crucial test for deciding if the fuel used in a truck is subject to the road user charge.”

In its ruling, the tax office has come down in support of the ATA’s position. As a result, trucking businesses can now claim back all the tax on the fuel used in these air conditioners: a fuel tax credit of 38.143 cents per litre.

“In contrast, trucking businesses can only claim 12.643 cents per litre in fuel tax credits on the fuel they use ‘for travelling.’ This rate is expected to fall even further on 1 July 2013, due to the yearly adjustment of the road user charge,” St Clair said.

A sleeper cab air conditioner is a small air conditioning unit that cools the sleeper cab of a long distance truck while it is stationary, the truck engine is off and the driver is resting. It is typically powered by a small auxiliary engine that draws fuel from a truck’s main fuel tanks.

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