• 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 equal 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:

    If you use a heavy diesel vehicle manufactured before 1 January 1996 for travelling on public roads, you will need to meet an environmental criterion before you can claim fuel tax credits.

    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).

    See also:

    Recent changes

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

    • Apportionment methods for auxiliary equipment
      • PCG 2016/11 – which replaces PSLA 2013/4(GA) – is a guide to the methods used to apportion fuel used in heavy vehicles to power auxiliary equipment, including bin-lifting equipment of a rubbish collection truck. See table 1 for percentages you can use instead of needing 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
      • New Fuel Tax Determination FTD 2016/1 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
      • The explanation of 'public roads' in Fuel Tax Ruling FTR 2008/1 has been clarified.
      • A public road is a road that is available for use by members of the public, and includes toll roads, bus lanes and busways. The fuel used in a 'heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads' rate should be used when calculating your fuel tax credits for fuel used when travelling on these roads.
      • Forestry, mining access and agricultural property roads are examples of roads that are not considered ‘public’. Fuel tax credits should be claimed for fuel used when travelling on these roads using the ‘all other business uses’ rate.
       

    On public roads

    You can claim fuel tax credits for fuel you use in a heavy vehicle on public roads. This includes using fuel for:

    For travelling on public roads

    Travelling begins when a vehicle starts to move and ends when it arrives at a destination, regardless of the distance. Fuel is used for travelling when it is used for:

    • propelling the vehicle along public roads, including stopping or idling (such as idling to keep within a schedule or at a layover on a public road) in the course of the journey
    • all aspects of the vehicle’s function that are for the vehicle’s operation, such as the use of lights, brakes, power-steering, windscreen wipers and powering the air-conditioning unit of the vehicle's cabin when travelling.

    If you use diesel in your heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads and it was manufactured before 1 January 1996, you will need to meet an environmental criterion before you can claim fuel tax credits.

    The fuel tax credit rate for fuel used in heavy vehicles for travelling on public roads is reduced by the road user charge (which is subject to change). The road user charge currently reduces any fuel tax credits to nil for gaseous fuels.

    See also:

    • FTD (2016/1): Fuel tax: fuel tax credits - fuel used for idling and cabin air-conditioning of a vehicle on a public road

    Find out about:

    Environmental criteria for heavy diesel vehicles

    If your heavy diesel vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1996, it must meet one of the following criteria:

    • be registered in an audited maintenance program accredited by the Transport Secretary
    • meet Rule 147A of the Australian Vehicle Standards Rules 1999 (the 'DT80' test)
    • comply with a maintenance schedule endorsed by the Transport Secretary.

    If your heavy diesel vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1996, but has been retrofitted with an engine manufactured on or after 1 January 1996, the engine must meet all of the following criteria:

    • be certified to the Australian Design Rule (ADR) 70/00 (or later) emission standard (currently ADR 80/00 or ADR 80/01)
    • be properly installed
    • retain all the original (or equivalent) components.

    The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development provides more information about the environmental criteria.

    See also:

    When the criteria do not apply

    You don't need to meet the environmental criteria if your heavy diesel vehicle is any of the following:

    • manufactured on or after 1 January 1996
    • a farm vehicle used primarily on an agricultural property in carrying out primary production business
    • not used on a public road, such as private roads or work sites.

    See also:

    • ATO ID 2007/120 Excise: meaning of 'motor vehicle' for the purposes of subsection 41-25(1) of the FTA to determine the application of the environmental criteria requirement
    • ATO ID 2007/100 Fuel Tax: agricultural vehicles and environmental criteria
    Records you need

    You must be able to show you meet the environmental criteria, where applicable.

    Acceptable records include vehicle use and maintenance records, such as:

    • receipts or dockets for oil and replacement parts
    • mechanical invoices for servicing/repairs
    • maintenance schedule documentation
    • a DT80 test report from a registered test facility
    • a membership certificate or equivalent from an accredited audited maintenance program.

    If your vehicle is manufactured on or after 1 January 1996, you must be able to demonstrate this if requested.

    See also:

    Movement along public roads

    Travelling does not include the movement of a vehicle undertaking road construction, maintenance or repair on the part of the road being constructed, maintained or repaired, such as by a grader or bulldozer.

    The fuel tax credit rate for this activity is not reduced by the road user charge. Use the rate for ‘All other business uses’ in the rates table.

    Vehicles are often engaged in both travel and other movement or activities as part of their operations. When claiming fuel tax credits, it is important you use the correct rate for each type of activity.

    See also:

    Off public roads

    You can claim fuel tax credits for eligible fuels you use in heavy vehicles off public roads, including private roads, work sites (for example, construction sites and mines) and agricultural properties.

    The fuel tax credit for these activities is not reduced by the road user charge.

    When working out your fuel tax credits, use the rate for ‘All other business uses’ in the rates table.

    See also:

    Incidental travel on public roads

    If you have vehicles designed for use off public roads that are not for the purpose of carrying goods or passengers, incidental travel occurs when the vehicle travels briefly on public roads.

    Some of these vehicles have been assessed as being used fully off public roads.

    If you use any of the vehicles listed in the table below which sometimes travel on public roads, you don’t need to apportion on and off-road travel when calculating your fuel tax credit claim for your March 2016 BAS onwards. You can claim all your fuel at the 'all other business uses' rate. This rate is not reduced by the road user charge.

    Table: Vehicle types treated as being used fully off public roads

    Vehicle

    Grader

    Backhoe loader

    Front-end loader

    Wheeled excavator

    Forklift

    Wheeled bulldozer

    Fertiliser spreader

    Combine harvester

    Tractor

    See also:

    • PCG 2016/4 Fuel tax credits – incidental travel on public roads by certain vehicles
    • 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. Note: The explanation of 'public roads' has been clarified. Rates – business

    Powering auxiliary equipment

    You can claim fuel tax credits for liquid fuels and gaseous fuels you use to power auxiliary equipment in your heavy vehicles. These are equipment and mechanisms unrelated to a vehicle’s travel along public roads, for example:

    • the mixing barrel of a concrete truck
    • garbage bin lifters and compacting mechanisms of a garbage truck
    • the refrigeration unit of a vehicle that transports temperature-sensitive goods
    • air-conditioning of a commercial bus or coach for passenger comfort
    • elevated work platforms

    The fuel used to power the auxiliary equipment may be sourced from a separate fuel tank or from the tank that fuels the main engine. The auxiliary equipment may also take its power from the main engine (known as 'power take-off'), which in turn increases the fuel used.

    The fuel tax credit rate for this activity is not reduced by the road user charge – including when the fuel is used in a heavy vehicle travelling on public roads.

    See also:

    Amending earlier claims for auxiliary equipment

    You can amend your earlier fuel tax credit claims for fuel used to power the auxiliary equipment of heavy vehicles travelling on public roads, if all of the following apply:

    • you claimed for liquid fuels using the rate 'in a heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads' that was reduced by the road user charge, or you didn't claim for gaseous fuels because the road user charge reduced your entitlement to nil
    • the amendment is within the time limit – four years from the day after you were required to lodge the BAS for the tax period in which the fuel was acquired.

    You can only claim fuel tax credits for gaseous fuels acquired after 1 December 2011.

    To work out the quantity of fuel used to power the auxiliary equipment for each BAS period, you can use any apportionment method considered fair and reasonable for your circumstances.

    See also:

    Amending claims for liquid fuels

    Step 1: Work out the quantity of fuel used to power the auxiliary equipment of the heavy vehicle travelling on public roads for each BAS period.

    Step 2: Multiply the quantity of fuel (from Step 1) by the fuel tax credit rate 'To power auxiliary equipment of a heavy vehicle travelling on public roads' for that period.

    Step 3: Multiply the same quantity of fuel (from Step 1) by the fuel tax credit rate you originally used when calculating your fuel tax credits for each BAS period (rate reduced by the road user charge).

    Step 4: Work out the amount of your amendment for each BAS period as follows: Step 2 minus Step 3.

    Step 5: Add the amounts from each BAS period (from Step 4) to get the total amount of your amendment. Include your amendment at label 7D on your BAS.

    Example: Work out amendment amount for a BAS period

    Paul's transport business supplies goods to various stores in 12-tonne trucks with refrigerated trailers.

    On 10 July 2015, Paul purchased 10,000 litres of diesel for use in his trucks. When he originally worked out his fuel tax credits he used the rate 12.76 cents per litre for the entire amount of fuel. This rate is reduced by the road user charge.

    Paul worked out 10% of that fuel was used to power the refrigeration unit. He can submit an amendment to claim back the road user charge on 10% of the fuel used in his trucks – 1,000 litres.

    Paul refers to the rates table and works out the amount of his amendment as follows:

    Step 1: 1,000 L x $0.389 = $389.00 (this is the amount he should have claimed)

    Step 2: 1,000 L x $0.1276 = $127.60 (this is the amount he has already claimed)

    Step 3: $389.00 – $127.60 = $261.40 (this is the additional amount he can claim)

    Paul can amend his BAS for the quarter ended September 2016 (his current BAS) by including $261 at label 7D.

    End of example

    Claiming for gaseous fuels

    Step 1: Multiply the fuel tax credit rate that applied by the quantity of fuel used to power the auxiliary equipment for each BAS period.

    Step 2: If you're claiming for multiple BAS periods, add the amounts from each BAS period together to get the total amount of your claim. Include this amount at label 7D on your BAS.

    See also:

    Work out the quantity of fuel

    Heavy vehicles can be used in different activities both on and off public roads. The amount of fuel tax credits you can claim depends on what fuel you use, when you acquired it and if you use it:

    • for travelling on public roads
    • in all other activities, including off public roads, on work sites and to power auxiliary equipment.

    You will need to do separate calculations for the different fuel tax credit rates. If rates change during a BAS period, you need to separate the fuel acquired before the rate change and from the rate change.

    To work out how much fuel was used in the different activities, you can use any apportionment method considered fair and reasonable for your circumstances.

    Common methods and measures include:

    • constructive method – where you add up all the eligible quantities of each fuel type that attract the same fuel tax credit rate
    • deductive method – where you subtract any ineligible fuel, such as fuel you used in light vehicles on a public road, from the total fuel acquired
    • percentage use method – where you determine a reliable percentage of eligible fuel usage for a sample period and apply this over a number of tax periods
    • average hourly fuel consumption of the vehicle or equipment.

    See also:

    Fuel used to power auxiliary equipment

    You may apply the percentage listed in the table below as the fuel used in your heavy vehicle for powering the auxiliary equipment of the vehicle. If you do this you do not need to do complex calculations or sample testing and keep detailed records of the testing.

    Table 1: Percentage of fuel used to power auxiliary equipment of heavy vehicles travelling on public roads

    Vehicle

    Percentage of fuel used by the auxiliary equipment

    Comment

    Concrete truck

    30%

    Includes the mixing barrel and all mechanisms used in loading, unloading and transporting the concrete.

    Commercial bus or coaches

    5%

    Air-conditioning for passenger comfort – all taxable fuel types.

    Refrigerated vehicle

    10%

    Refers to all the refrigeration units of a vehicle transporting temperature-sensitive goods.

    Includes fuel sourced from a separate or the same fuel tank as that which fuels the main engine.

    Waste management collection

    15%

    Equipment of a vehicle used to lift the bin to deposit contents into the vehicle's hopper and to compact the contents of the hopper. Includes all configurations of bin-lifting equipment.

    Does not include pumping in relation to waste management (refer below to 'Vehicles with specialised auxiliary equipment').

    Vehicles with specialised auxiliary equipment

    5%

    Refers only to the following specialised equipment:

    a) elevated work platform

    b) truck mounted loader cranes

    c) truck mounted drilling equipment

    d) pumping equipment

    e) truck blower for dry goods

    f) tipping equipment for loading and unloading.

    The apportionment of 5% is only applied once even if you have used fuel to power more than one type of specialised equipment.

    Long haul vehicles with sleeper cabins

    5%

    Air-conditioner units that moderate the temperature of the vehicle’s sleeping compartment when the driver is on a sleeping break during the course of a long-haul trip.

    Note: Generally a vehicle will qualify under one category, with the possible exception of a long haul refrigerated vehicle with an air-conditioner unit of a sleeper cabin.

    See also:

    Other methods

    If you don't use the percentages method listed above, you can use any method considered fair and reasonable in your circumstances to work out the quantity of fuel used in the auxiliary equipment.

    Other methods include:

    • actual records of fuel supplied – you can use actual records of fuel purchased if the auxiliary equipment of your heavy vehicle is fuelled by a separate tank
    • manufacturer specifications – these may provide the average fuel consumption for a range of operating conditions. For example, lower and higher level of fuel consumption based on environmental conditions, volume or temperature
    • engine diagnostic downloads – you can download the actual fuel consumption of the auxiliary equipment if it uses a power take-off connected to the module
    • fuel consumption trials – where you run trials to compare the  
      • vehicle’s fuel consumption when the vehicle is idling with, and without the power take-off engaged
      • fuel consumption of the vehicle with and without the auxiliary equipment operating.
       

    The following examples are for demonstration purposes only and are not specific to the particular type or use of the auxiliary equipment. You'll need to consider your individual circumstances to determine a fair and reasonable method for your heavy vehicle and equipment.

    Example 1: Vehicle idling – fuel consumption with and without power take-off

    Infrastructure Services operates several heavy vehicles with various types of auxiliary equipment attached. The auxiliary equipment is powered through a power take-off while the vehicle is idling.

    Several vehicles of different ages are selected for fuel consumption trialling. The vehicles are fuelled to capacity and the auxiliary equipment is operated for one hour while the vehicle is idling. The vehicle is then refuelled. The amount of fuel needed to refuel the vehicle after testing represents the amount of fuel used to power the auxiliary equipment.

    Example 2: Fuel consumption of the vehicle with and without the auxiliary equipment operating

    TrashBGone Inc operates several 20-tonne garbage trucks with rear bin-lifting equipment and compactors (auxiliary equipment). The auxiliary equipment is powered through a power take-off while the vehicle drives along the road and while idling.

    TrashBGone selects several vehicles of different ages for fuel consumption trialling. The vehicles are fuelled to capacity and sent on a typical route while using the bin lifting equipment and compactor. The vehicles are then refuelled and the amount recorded.

    The vehicles are once again filled to capacity and sent on the same route, without use of the bin lifter or compactors. The vehicle is again refuelled and the amount recorded. The difference between the average amounts of fuel required to refuel the vehicles represents the amount of fuel used to power the auxiliary equipment.

    When calculating their fuel tax credits, TrashBGone works out the amount of fuel used to power the bin lifter and compactor as follows:

    The average fuel consumption of the bin lifter and compactor for each delivery multiplied by the number of deliveries made during the tax period.

    End of example

    See also:

    • PCG 2016/8 Fuel tax credits – apportioning fuel for fuel tax credits

    Variables affecting fuel consumption

    To work out the fuel consumed either by the heavy vehicle or its auxiliary equipment, your testing methods need to take into account variables that affect the fuel consumption, such as:

    • the terrain the heavy vehicle travels over (steep or undulating roads affecting fuel consumption of the vehicle)
    • variable distance of travelling compared to the interval between use of the auxiliary equipment
    • climatic conditions during transportation – including whether the cargo area is thermostatically controlled
    • age and design of the auxiliary equipment
    • servicing and maintenance of the auxiliary equipment or heavy vehicle
    • weight and capacity of the cargo area
    • configuration of the vehicle's cargo area – fully or partially insulated, curtain or solid construction, shipping container
    • Australian standards or statutory requirements to be met in relation to goods transported
    • driver influence, for example conservative driving practices.

    Using a third party’s apportionment amount

    If you're subcontracted to use heavy vehicles, and the contractor engages in the same activities – for example, concrete transport or commercial coach and bus industry – you may be able to use the same apportionment amounts as the contractor.

    You can do this if the contractor used a fair and reasonable method to determine the amount of fuel used in auxiliary equipment, and the circumstances under which you operate is substantially identical to the contractor's.

    This generally means you:

    • work exclusively for the contractor
    • own or lease the vehicle you use under the contract
    • operate a vehicle of a similar type, size and age as those operated by the contractor
    • perform journeys under the contract identical to those performed by the vehicles of the contractor
    • operate your vehicle under the same conditions as the contractor’s vehicles.

    If you operate in a similar industry to others, but do not meet the factors of a contractual arrangement detailed above, you'll need to establish your own apportionment of fuel using any method that is fair and reasonable in your circumstances.

    Case study – construction

    BIATWC Construction use diesel in their front-end loaders, excavators, compactors, graders, concrete truck, tipper truck and other construction vehicles.

    The vehicles are used on building construction sites and for road construction. The tipper truck and concrete truck also travel along public roads when delivering materials to the work site. They also use diesel in large trucks to transport equipment and supplies to and from the site.

    When working out their fuel tax credits for their quarterly BAS, BIATWC Construction work out how much fuel was used for each activity with a different fuel tax credit rate.

    BIATWC Construction uses the Percentage of fuel used by concrete truck vehicles, which is 30%, to work out the amount of fuel used to power the concrete mixing barrel of their concrete truck travelling on public roads.

    See also:

    Table 2: Rates for the different activities

    Heavy vehicle

    Activities

    Rate to use

    Transport trucks

    Travels on public roads to transport equipment and vehicles to the work site. (for travelling on public roads)

    In a heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads*

    Tipper truck

    Travel on public roads to and from the work site, depot and material source (for travelling on public roads)

    In a heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads*

    Fuel used while the vehicle is picking up and dropping off the material (off-road), including to power the tipping mechanism (off public roads)

    All other business uses

    Concrete truck

    Fuel used for travelling along public roads (for travelling on public roads)

    In a heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads*

    Fuel used to power the concrete mixing barrel while travelling along a public road ** (powering auxiliary equipment)

    To power auxiliary equipment of a heavy vehicle travelling on public roads

    Fuel used while the vehicle is on-site, including to power the concrete mixing barrel (off public roads)

    All other business uses

    Graders, backhoe loader, front-end loader, wheeled-excavator

    Fuel used while the vehicle travels on a public road between the depot and the work site (for travelling on public roads)

    All other business uses

    Fuel used undertaking construction or maintenance of a road (movement along public roads)

    All other business uses

    All other construction vehicles

    Fuel used while the vehicle travels on a public road between the depot and the work site (for travelling on public roads)

    In a heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads*

    Fuel used while the vehicle works on-site (off public roads)

    All other business uses

    * Rate is reduced by the road user charge.

    Records you need to keep

    You need to keep records of the type of fuel you acquired, when it was acquired and the business activities you used it in.

    The following table provides examples of records you may need to keep. The list of eligible vehicles is not exhaustive, but covers the most common examples.

    Table 3: Record keeping for heavy vehicle activities

    Heavy vehicles
    (more than 4.5 tonnes GVM)

    Activity

    Examples of records you may need to keep

    Garbage truck, tip truck, refrigeration truck

    Fuel for travelling on public roads to work site or on route

    General odometer readings (eg servicing)

    Route distances

    Fuel purchases/issues

    Auxiliary equipment used while the heavy vehicle is travelling on public roads – for example, a garbage truck, concrete truck, refrigeration truck

    Bin lifting and compaction mechanism of a garbage truck

    Mixing barrel or a concrete truck

    Refrigeration unit or a refrigeration truck

    PCG 2016/11 for acceptable percentages

    Evidence to support any fair and reasonable method of apportionment of the fuel

    Street sweeper/ water truck

    Fuel for travelling on public roads to and from work site

    General odometer readings (eg servicing)

    Route distances

    Fuel purchases/issues

    Undertaking road maintenance

    Specific records (or percentages based on previous actual records) of fuel used in specific work activities

    Auxiliary equipment of a heavy vehicle used while the vehicle is not travelling on public roads

    Truck mounted drill at a building construction site or a water tanker while spraying off-road

    Specific records (or percentages based on previous actual records) of fuel used in specific work activities

    See also:

      Last modified: 12 Sep 2016QC 44648