Truck Driver Travel Allowances


Truck driver travel allowances are paid for overnight stays to compensate truck drivers for the cost of meals and incidentals while travelling away from home. This typically appears on their payment summaries as an allowance (as opposed to gross payments) and is treated by the ATO as taxable income.

The question then arises as to what deductions the ATO will allow to offset this income?

Under the current ATO rules for the 2018 tax year, the following reasonable meal amounts apply:

  • Breakfast $24.25
  • Lunch $27.65
  • Dinner $27.70

These amounts represent a benchmark not a ceiling, the basic rule being that you can claim the lower of what you actually incurred or the ATO rate, if you wish to claim more than the ATO rate then all receipts must be kept.

Short haul or local truck drivers who do not stay away overnight will not be allowed to claim the above rates. However, if they work in excess of their standard hours and receive an overtime meal allowance on their payment summaries then they will be entitled to claim up to $30.05 per overtime event. As with overnight truck drivers the amount claimable is always the lower of the ATO allowance or the actual amount spent.

To ensure you are receiving the most from your truck driving travel allowances – contact the team at Bosco Accounting.

If claiming a lower amount than the ATO rate, you do not need to keep all receipts, you only need to prove that the amount was incurred was reasonable by means of diary entries, truck stop menus or any receipts you may have kept.