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  • Heavy vehicles

    Heavy vehicles, including heavy emergency vehicles, are vehicles that have a gross vehicles mass (GVM) greater than 4.5 tonnes (diesel vehicles acquired before 1 July 2006 can be equal to 4.5 tonnes GVM).

    The GVM of a vehicle is the GVM accepted by the authority that registered the vehicle. Trailers cannot be included in the GVM of a rigid vehicle. For prime movers, the GVM is the gross combination mass – the mass of the vehicle and the trailer.

    You can claim fuel tax credits for eligible fuels you use in your business in heavy vehicles:

    Eligible fuels include taxable fuels such as liquid fuels (for example, diesel, petrol or fuel blends) and gaseous fuels – liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG).

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    Further guidance for calculating fuel tax credits

    We have released further guidance for calculating fuel tax credits for heavy vehicles.

    • Apportionment methods for auxiliary equipment and fuel used off a public road      
      • PCG 2016/11 Fuel tax credits – apportioning taxable fuel used in a heavy vehicle with auxiliary equipment (which replaces PSLA 2013/4(GA)) – is a guide to the methods used to apportion fuel used in heavy vehicles with auxiliary equipment. See the simplified method in Table 1 for percentages you can use instead. These percentages cover all on and off road fuel use and remove the need to do complex calculations or sample testing. 
    • Fuel used in heavy vehicles to power the air-conditioning unit in the vehicle's main cabin and for idling on public roads          
      • FTD 2016/1 Fuel tax: fuel tax credits – fuel used for idling and cabin air-conditioning of a vehicle on a public road outlines that the fuel tax credit rate will be reduced by the road user charge for fuel that is used in a heavy vehicle for        
        • idling on a public road
        • powering the air conditioning unit of a main cabin when travelling on a public road. 
    • Public roads        
      • FTR 2008/1 Fuel tax: vehicle's travel on a public road that is incidental to the vehicle's main use and the road user charge provides guidance on what is a 'public road'.
        • A public road is a road that is available for use by members of the public and includes any shoulder of the road, auxiliary and emergency stopping lanes.
        • Roads (sealed and unsealed including tracks and lanes) that are accessible to the public and integrated into the overall public road network are public roads regardless of whether they are publicly or privately owned, operated or maintained.
        • Common public roads include toll roads, bus lanes, busways, transit ways (T-ways), roads providing access to, or access between Indigenous communities, roads through shopping centres, within hospitals, ports and airports allowing public access.
        • Taxi lanes, taxi ranks and bus stops on streets are part of the public road network.
        • The fuel used in a heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads rate should be used when calculating your fuel tax credits.
        • Fuel used in light vehicles is ineligible for a fuel tax credit when travelling on public roads. 
      • Examples of roads that are not public roads
        • Forestry, mining access and agricultural property roads are examples of roads that are not considered public.
        • Actual tramways and guided transport corridors that are not capable of normal vehicular movement are not public roads, for example the Adelaide O-Bahn. 

    Fuel tax credits should be claimed for fuel used when travelling on these roads using the ‘all other business uses’ rate.

    Example: Public roads

    Tim's Transport operates a fleet of buses in the metropolitan and rural areas.

    After departing Tim's Transport depot, the buses travel on lanes designated as bus lanes in peak hours, busways and through bus and train interchanges, shopping centres and the airport and port.

    Some roads have bays set aside on the roads to enable the passengers to board and alight the vehicles.

    The airport and port roads allow access to the buses for loading and unloading goods and passengers.

    Even though a fare is required to board the buses, all of these are public roads as they exist for the purpose of conveying the public.

    The buses also transport passengers to remote indigenous communities. Permits are required to travel on roads that traverse the community lands in case the traveller leaves the road and enters the lands.

    The roads providing access to, traversing the communities and allowing movement between the communities are public roads. Roads solely within the community on the lands serving the needs of the residents and under the authority of the community are not public roads. These roads are like privately owned roads on agricultural properties that exist for the benefit of the owner.

    End of example

    See also:

      Last modified: 12 Oct 2021QC 44648