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Do You Pay More Fuel Tax Than You Need To?

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

When you manage a fleet, there’s no escaping the substantial amount of money you spend on fuel. The good news is that you could be spending more on fuel tax than you need to.

If you use fuel in vehicles that drive off the public road network, or for auxiliary equipment in vehicles like refrigeration or machinery, you can recover all of your paid fuel tax in the form of fuel tax credits (FTC). However, you’re entitled to a much lower FTC rate when heavy vehicles travel on public roads, so you need to apportion fuel usage between different activities if you want to get the most out of your claims. This means that most existing FTC claims processes are incredibly complex, time-consuming, and prone to inaccuracy, and you could be leaving a considerable amount of money on the table.

The claims process is arduous. Many businesses don’t apportion on-road and off-road fuel use at all, missing out on tax rebates entirely. If you are claiming fuel tax credits, you’re often reliant on complicated spreadsheets, conservative estimates, stacks of receipts or approximate sample data that doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. It’s likely you’re also being overly cautious and under-claiming, as coming out of the wrong side of an audit can be complex and stressful.

Luckily, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Your vehicles are capable of capturing tonnes of real-time data that can be used to streamline and automate the FTC process. Accurate GPS fleet tracking data allows you to create detailed off-road maps that tell you exactly how much fuel you can claim, so you can concentrate on more strategic tasks.  

Put Money Back In Your Pocket

Current FTC claims methods rely on approximations, estimates and assumptions based on sample data from a current or past timeframe.  If your sample is based on conservative estimates of your FTC entitlement or a month of journeys that drastically underrepresents your actual fuel usage, you’re missing out on rebates.

In comparison, second-by-second GPS location tracking provides an unparalleled level of accuracy that allows you to automatically map when vehicles leave the road network. Calculations can be made on an ongoing basis so that each claim uses real-time data rather than average percentages, allowing you to claim your FTC entitlement in full.  

Focus On What’s Important To Your Business

Time spent trawling through complicated spreadsheets, manually capturing on- or off-road use and making sense of this information in a claim can be a nightmare. Real-time vehicle location data gives you back time to focus on what actually matters to your business: keeping costs down, customers happy and drivers safe. Moving away from piles of paperwork and embracing electronic solutions also allows you to keep track of monthly reports and check out detailed maps of your fleet’s off-road travel. Prepared claims, which are automatically populated with the total claimable value, are turned into auditable reports that can be included in monthly BAS claims to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), hassle free.

Keep Your Business Safe From Tax Risk

Eliminating paperwork removes guesswork. At tax time, the last thing you want is a fine for poor estimations of entitlements or incorrect sample data coming back to haunt you. Basing claims on live location data reduces the stress of an audit, and a solution with an ATO Class Ruling will re-assure you (and your boss) that your claim is compliant and your business isn’t at risk.

Tax time is stressful enough without adding extra piles of paperwork or confusion. With data on every vehicle in your fleet captured automatically, you can get time and money back every month by automating your FTC claims and sending them straight to the ATO. Be confident that you’re free from tax risk and direct your attention back to the things that matter to your business.

Article published on page 52 of July/August edition of Diesel Magazine

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