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Road freight services

When a business providing road freight services must lodge a Taxable TPAR to report payments made to contractors.

Last updated 22 April 2024

When your business provides road freight and other services

You must lodge a Taxable payments annual report (TPAR) all conditions are met:

  • your business provides road freight services to other people or businesses
  • you paid contractors or subcontractors to provide these road freight services on behalf of your business
  • you have an Australian business number (ABN).

Payments made to employees are not reported in your TPAR.

Each year, you must:

  • review if you need to lodge a TPAR
  • report these payments to us on your TPAR by 28 August.

If road freight services are only part of what your business provides, you may need to fill out a TPAR.

You should:

  • work out how much of your business income came from road freight services
  • add up the money your business was paid for providing road freight services for the financial year, a financial year is the 12 months from 1 July to 30 June
  • include payments for services provided by both employees and contractors or subcontractors
  • work out the total amount of your business income for the year.

If an arrangement with your customer involves providing both goods and road freight services, you need to determine if the road freight services are either:

  • composite supply of delivering the goods: the delivery is essential, ancillary or incidental to the supply of the goods, the delivery involved is not a 'road freight service'
  • mixed supply of road freight services and goods: the delivery part of the service is a large cost or could be made as a separate supply, the delivery part is a 'road freight service.'

If the total payments, you receive for road freight services are:

  • 10% or more of your gross business income: you must lodge a TPAR
  • less than 10% of your gross business income: you don't lodge a TPAR.

From 1 July 2019, if your business provides road freight and courier services, combine the payments you receive for both services. Do this when you work out if you need to lodge a TPAR.

You can also choose to lodge a TPAR even if you are:

  • under the 10% threshold (see examples below)
  • unsure if you will be under the threshold.

See the steps on how to Work out if you need to lodge a TPAR

Example: business providing courier and road freight services

Transport Traders is a business that:

  • has an ABN
  • supplies both road freight and courier services.

To transport bulk goods and deliver parcels for clients, Transport Traders uses contractors that provide their own vehicles. Contractors are used in both the road freight and courier parts of its business.

In the financial year, Transport Traders works out that:

  • the current business income for Transport Traders is $7 million
  • amounts received for road freight services is $6.4 million
  • amounts received for courier services is $600,000.

Transport Traders must add together the total amounts received for road freight and courier services. This is because road freight and courier service are counted as one category for TPAR reporting.

The total payments Transport Traders received for road freight and courier services is 100% of their current business income for the financial year.

Transport Traders must report in a TPAR the payments made to contractors that provided these services on its behalf.

End of example

Examples of road freight services

Road freight services can include:

  • furniture removal
  • log haulage
  • road freight forwarding
  • road vehicle towing services
  • transportation of goods by road
  • truck hire with a driver.

'Transportation of freight by road' includes the transport of:

  • goods:  
    • in a raw or natural state
    • in a wholly or partly manufactured state
    • solid, liquid or gaseous in nature
  • livestock
  • material
  • merchandise
  • wares.

Typically, goods will be sent by road freight where the goods are transported in bulk using large vehicles.

Road freight services don't include:

  • passenger transport services such as buses and taxis
  • courier services: however, from 1 July 2018, these services must be reported in a TPAR
  • operating road freight terminals
  • providing crating and packing for road freight transport
  • leasing or hiring trucks without drivers.

Example: business providing road freight services

Longhaul is a business that has an ABN. It has an agreement to transport a consignment of bulk groceries to a supermarket in a remote town.

There is only one main road to this town. Heavy vehicles cannot travel on the road.

Longhaul divides the consignment into smaller loads. To transport groceries to the supermarket, Longhaul uses contract drivers. These contractor drivers use vans to travel to the remote town and transport the groceries.

Longhaul is considered to be supplying a road freight service, not a courier service. This is because the agreement is to transport a bulk quantity of groceries from one location to another. The form of transport does not change the service provided. 

Longhaul is operational for the full financial year. Its total payments for road freight services is 20% of its total business income. Longhaul must report in a TPAR the payments made to the contract drivers.

End of example


Example: freight forwarding services

Rapport Freight has an ABN and provides freight forwarding services.

Rapport Freight sometimes uses contractors to provide freight forwarding services on Rapport Freight’s behalf. These contractors supply their own vehicles.

Rapport Freight is engaged to transport a large consignment of new cars for a car company. The cars arrive at a port in Fremantle. Rapport Freight uses its contractors to transport these cars by road to the car company’s warehouse in Melbourne.

Rapport Freight’s transportation of the consignment of cars is by road. The consignment of cars is a road freight service.

Rapport Freight has been operating for the full financial year.

At the end of the financial year, the total payments Rapport Freight received for road freight services is more than 10% of its total business income.

Rapport Freight must report in a TPAR the payments it makes to contractors for these services.

End of example