|Ruling number||PTA 024v2|
|Date issued||1 July 2019|
Stephen R Brady|
Chief Commissioner of State Revenue
|Effective from||1 July 2019|
The Payroll Tax Act 2007 (the Act), which commenced on 1 July 2007, harmonises certain payroll tax legislation amongst the States and Territories. One of the areas that has been harmonised is exempt allowances.
This Revenue Ruling clarifies the payroll tax treatment of overnight allowances paid to truck drivers.
Section 30 of the Act imposes payroll tax on accommodation allowances paid or payable to an employee in respect of a night’s absence from the employee’s usual place of residence to the extent that those allowances exceed the exempt rate. Generally, accommodation allowances are paid to an employee to cover temporary accommodation costs necessarily incurred while the employee is required to travel for work purposes. (See Revenue Ruling PTA 005v3 Exempt allowances: Motor vehicle and accommodation).
Under the Transport Workers (Long Distance Drivers) Award 2000 (the Award), where a long distance truck driver is unable to return home at night, the employer is required to pay the driver an allowance to cover the necessary personal expenses reasonably incurred in travelling. However, the Award states that, where the employer provides suitable accommodation acceptable to the union, the truck driver will not be entitled to the allowance. In general, therefore, a truck driver who sleeps in a truck will not be entitled to the allowance.
Overnight allowances paid to long distance truck drivers are exempt from payroll tax if the following criteria are satisfied:
1. the allowance is paid according to the terms of the Award, and
2. the amount is no more than the exempt rate for accommodation allowances under section 30 of the Act.
If an overnight allowance exceeds the exempt rate, the difference between the allowance and the exempt rate is subject to payroll tax (Revenue Ruling PTA 005v3).
This Revenue Ruling is effective from 1 July 2019.
Please note that rulings do not have the force of law. Each decision made by the State Revenue Office is made on the merits of each individual case having regard to any relevant ruling.