2. Clean energy and communications update
2.1 Clean energy update
2.2. Communications update
2.1 Clean energy project leader Lauren Pamenter provided an update on the project:
2.1.1 Changes to the fuel tax credits scheme implemented on 1 July 2012
- introduction of the carbon charge
- half fuel tax credit rate became the full fuel tax credit rate (however, subject to the carbon charge)
- increase in the road user charge
- increase in excise duty rates for transport gaseous fuels, with corresponding changes to fuel tax credits for those fuels.
2.1.2 Changes from 1 July 2013 will be:
- fuel tax credit rates will decrease further, due to an increase in the carbon charge
- further increase in excise duty rates for transport gaseous fuels, with corresponding changes to fuel tax credit rates for those fuels
- possible rate change for fuel used in heavy vehicles for travelling on public roads
- eligible entities will be allowed to opt in to the carbon pricing mechanism to manage their carbon liability for liquid fuels, instead of through the fuel tax credit system.
2.1.3 Common errors that have arisen with fuel tax credit claims:
- using the incorrect rate:
- for the activity/fuel type, and /or
- for the period
- using the cost of fuel as the basis for the fuel tax credit calculation instead of the number of litres of fuel
- claiming for ineligible activities
- including cents on the activity statement (the fuel tax credit amount should be in whole dollars)
- apportionment issues
- inadequate records
- clerical errors.
Laurren discussed the general compliance results to date. Overall the ATO is pleased with the level of compliance, especially given the number of recent changes.
2.1.4. Hints and tips for making correct claims:
- always check the ATO website for the latest fuel tax credit rates every time you prepare your activity statement
- keep good records
- use the ATO's online support tools:
- fuel tax credit eligibility tool, and
- fuel tax credit calculator.
While most members at the meeting were familiar with the high level detail, they advised that following Laurren’s presentation they now felt a greater degree of confidence in how they were managing issues and responsibilities around clean energy.
Forum members reported ‘under-claiming’ by some clients in their industries. No specific explanation was provided for this situation as it was generally agreed that communication from the ATO through the outreach program including field days, webinars etc to industry had covered a wide area of Australia.
In summary - key messages:
- clients should always check the ATO website for current rates every time they complete an activity statement, and
- taxpayers are encouraged to talk to the ATO when they are about to embark on a large project.
Forum members referred to specific issues around contracts noting that often, contracts are silent on fuel tax credits. Disputes can arise regarding who claims the fuel tax credits, which can frequently lead to double dipping, or no one claiming the credits. Darryl requested that existing ATO communications products include information relating to contracts.
Pauline advised that while the ATO cannot get involved in, or provide advice on business decisions, the ATO would work with forum members on some key messages around this issue to include in our fact sheets. The ATO agreed to examine what communication we could do. Darryl agreed to provide the ATO with some examples.
|Action Item: 12062013-2-2
Due Date: As soon as possible
Darryl Daisley to provide examples relating to fuel tax credits and contracts for inclusion in ATO fact sheets
Claudia to investigate incorporating material in ATO fact sheets highlighting the need to consider fuel tax credits in contracts
2.2 Claudia Bianco then provided an update on current communication products:
- fuel tax credit mail-out
- outreach program
- other communication activities, and
- communication activities for tax practitioners.
Claudia advised that most updates will go live on ato.gov.au on 1 July 2013 and suggested that if members require articles for their clients, the ATO is able to provide them.
Fourteen out of twenty two outreach program events have been completed, with two events remaining in June, and a further six proposed between July and September. Feedback has been very positive from visitors to the events. Some common questions arising at the events include:
- what are fuel tax credits?
- who/what is eligible for fuel tax credits?
- how does the carbon charge affect me?
- what are the rates, and where can I find them?
Pauline stated that the ATO has been running a program reviewing second tier tax agents in regional/rural areas to discuss/advise on the changes around fuel tax credits to help and educate.