NatRoad goes to war with ATO over early payments scheme

By: Jason Whittaker


NatRoad’s efforts to continue the early payments system under the fuel tax credits scheme is being hampered by the Australian

NatRoad’s efforts to continue the early payments system under the fuel tax credits scheme is being hampered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which is intent on abolishing the system.

NatRoad is lobbying the Federal Government to continue the early payments scheme which will expire on June 30.

If the Government does not renew it, NatRoad Chief Executive Bernie Belacic says transport operators will face severe cash flow issues because they will be forced to wait three months to claim fuel tax credits.

Under the current system, operators, for example, can claim an early payment each month while submitting their business activity statement (BAS) quarterly.

This, according to the ATO has to stop. The tax office wants to streamline the reporting process by requiring operators to submit their claims in line with their BAS statements.

"The reality is the tax office wants to drop it," Belacic says.

"They want to streamline the process as much as possible, and that’s who we are fighting."

However, Belacic says there is no justification for ending the system because the ATO can process separate requests without too much burden.

"It’s not that difficult for them to do; they have done it for years. It’s just the tax office being lazy," he says.

Of all the companies using the fuel tax credits scheme, Belacic says only 1,000 companies claim early payments.

With profit margins already squeezed by rising fuel prices, there is concern within the industry that ending the system will threaten the viability of already cash-strapped operators.

"They really need any cash flow assistance they can get," Belacic says.

NatRoad is still waiting for the Federal Government to respond to its request.

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