Earthmoving plant operators’ tax guide updated

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has updated its guide to claiming work-related expenses if you operate a plant to: excavate earth, ore and rock; break up pavement, road rock and obstructions; move and load earth, rock and debris; or level, smooth and compact surfaces.

Earthmoving plant operators’ tax guide updated
Source: Hyundai Construction Equipment Australia

The guide looks at:

  • Motor vehicle expenses, including finance payments
  • Travel expenses and associated allowances
  • Uniform, occupation-specific or protective clothing, including laundry and dry-cleaning expenses
  • Other expenses, such as meals, phone, mobile and computer running costs.

The ATO hasn’t detailed what the updates are, but the guide is worth a look if you work in the earthmoving industry. Some examples of useful information here are:

How to work out if your vehicle is a car

As expense claims for cars and non-car vehicles differ,  it’s  important to note that a vehicle is not a car if it: has a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, such as a utility truck or panel van; has a carrying capacity of nine passengers or more, such as a minivan; or is a motorcycle.

Transporting bulky tools and equipment

Personal choice and the availability of storage are the main factors to consider when claiming the cost of using your car or vehicle to travel between your home and work.

The ATO says you can claim if: you have to carry bulky tools and equipment you need to use at work; it is essential to transport the equipment to and from work, and it is not done as a matter of convenience or personal choice; and there is no secure storage area at your workplace.

Two examples of transport tax claims given are:

"Clive, an excavation operator, usually leaves his bulky tools and equipment in a secure area at the work site. His employer requires him to go to a different site the next day, so he takes the tools and equipment home. The cost of Clive's travel home and to the work site the next day is an allowable deduction because it can be attributed to the transport of bulky equipment."

"Paul is an earthmover. His employer provides a secure tools storage area at his workplace. However, Paul chooses to transport his tools to and from work every day. Because Paul chooses not to use the secure tools storage area at his work, he cannot claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs to transport his tools between his home and work."

Meal expenses

Overtime meals and meals consumed when travelling overnight are the only ones you can claim. Meals, snacks and drinks bought and consumed while working "are considered to be a private expense and not an allowable deduction".

Tools and equipment

If the cost of tools and equipment used for your earthmoving duties are less than $300 and don’t form part of a set (or if the set itself is less than $300) you can claim an immediate deduction; however, for expenses of more than $300 you can only claim a deduction for the depreciation, or decline in value.

"The amount you can claim for decline in value (or as an immediate deduction) depends on the amount of time you use your tools or equipment for work purposes," the ATO says. "For example, if you bought a power tool for $350 which you use half for work purposes and half for private purposes, you can claim only half the decline in value."

You can also claim the work-related cost of repairing and insuring your tools and equipment, and any interest charges you incurred on finance obtained to purchase these items.

Besides the details in this guide, the ATO says that there may be other deductions you can claim if you work in the construction or building industry.


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