Frequently Asked Questions
Relating to Fuel Tax Credits
How many of the environmental criteria do I need to satisfy?
You only have to satisfy one of the 4 criteria. Vehicles manufactured on or after 1 January 1996 are eligible under Criterion 1. Criteria 2, 3 and 4 are options for vehicles of all ages.
Can small operators/owner-drivers meet those requirements?
Yes. The Government has provided a range of options which should ensure any operator who maintains the emission related components of their vehicle in a reasonable manner will be able to claim the fuel tax credit. The environmental criteria were developed through consultation with various sectors of the truck and bus industry—including operator organisations, engine manufacturers and maintenance experts.
I service my own vehicle(s). Am I eligible for the Fuel Tax Credit?
Yes, owner/operator servicing is acceptable under Criterion 4, provided the maintenance requirements are met and you keep the relevant records.
Can I service my vehicle according to its manufacturer's maintenance schedule and still claim under Criterion 4?
Yes, manufacturer's maintenance schedules are acceptable. Where they do not cover the six listed maintenance items, then you need to follow the relevant generic schedule for those items. For example, if manufacturer's specifications do not set maintenance intervals for injectors, then you need to follow the relevant generic schedule for injectors.
I have a pre-1996 truck with an original engine that was built to one of the standards in ADR70/00 or has been rebuilt or recalibrated in line with post 1996 standards. Is this vehicle eligible under Criterion 1?
No. The only pre-1996 vehicles which are eligible under Criterion 1 are those retrofitted with an engine that itself was originally manufactured on or after 1 January 1996.
Where are the accredited audited maintenance programs under Criterion 2?
The Department has finalised the requirements for audited maintenance programs and the administrators of those schemes can now seek accreditation. The Department will aim to respond as quickly as possible to accreditation requests. Accredited programs will be listed on the the Departments website.
Where are the DT80 test facilities under Criterion 3?
The Department has finalised the minimum requirements for DT80 facilities and the owners of those facilities can now seek registration. The Department will aim to respond as quickly as possible to registration requests. Registered facilities will be listed on the Departments website.
When do I have to start maintaining my vehicle(s) according to the generic/manufacturer's maintenance schedule to claim under Criterion 4?
For the purposes of claiming the fuel tax credit you need to start this maintenance no later than 1 July 2006. It is suggested that operators record the odometer reading of their vehicle(s) on 1 July 2006, and use that figure to determine the required maintenance intervals.
Does plant type equipment such as graders, cherry pickers and excavators, which may be road registered, have to comply with the environmental criteria?
No. Plant type equipment, such as graders, cherry pickers and excavators are considered special purpose vehicles not ordinarily used on a road. The environmental criteria apply to diesel motor vehicles of a kind ordinarily used for transporting passengers or goods.
Do I need to send in any documentation that my vehicle meets the environmental criteria in order to claim the fuel tax credit? Who do I send them to?
No, you do not need to send any documentation to the Tax Office or the Department to claim the fuel tax credit. You should, however, have and retain adequate documentation to substantiate your claim should the Tax Office ask to see it.
What kind of records do I need to keep?
Like any tax claim, record keeping is important in order to be able to verify your claim should you be audited by the Australian Tax Office. The Guidelines on the Environmental Criteria provide some templates if you want to use them, but any system offering a similar level of information is acceptable. Contact the Tax Office or go to their website if you are unsure. The Tax Office also has a fact sheet on record keeping in relation to fuel purchases.
How much is the fuel tax credit?
The value of the fuel tax credit is the difference between the diesel fuel excise rate and the Road User Charge. The current rate of the fuel tax credit can be found on the Australian Tax Office website.
What is the Road User Charge?
The Road User Charge recovers part of the road construction and maintenance costs attributed to heavy vehicles (cost recovery). The remainder of road construction and maintenance costs attributed to heavy vehicles is recovered by states and territories through heavy vehicle registration charges.
The Fuel Tax Act 2006 establishes a mechanism for the collection of the Road User Charge by reducing the fuel tax credit on each litre of fuel used by eligible heavy vehicle operators. In effect, the fuel tax credit claimable equals the excise rate paid on each litre of fuel minus the Road User Charge.
The Road User Charge Rate is declared by legislative instrument which can be found on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments web site. Further details on claiming the Fuel Tax Credit can be found on the Australian Taxation Office website.