September 13, 2017

Are you claiming the maximum in fuel tax credits?

Put your hand up if you are only claiming the 16 cent per litre fuel tax credits on heavy vehicles.

Did you know that under certain circumstances you could be claiming around 42 cents per litre for fuel used in your road going “light” and “heavy” vehicles?

Many businesses don’t realise that they can claim this higher fuel tax credit on both light and heavy vehicles when used “off” public roads. Businesses that do know about it, don’t always have the proof to verify it.

Well, there’s good news: Getting the maximum fuel tax credit rebate does not have to be complex or overwhelming. We can match your vehicle trip and fuel expense information with a comprehensive database that includes a vast range of data related to fuel tax credits. We can potentially help you to unlock additional refunds that you could have missed.

Read on to get a better understanding of the fuel tax credit system and how we can help you claim the maximum rebate from the ATO. Download our free Fuel Tax Credit Claim Checklist to see if you are missing out.

What Are Fuel Tax Credits?

Fuel tax credits reimburse businesses for the excise embedded in the cost of fuel. Fuel excise was introduced in Australia in the 1920’s for the main purpose of road construction and maintenance.

The Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme (DFRS) was introduced in the early ‘80s to enable eligible businesses to claim back the excise. The Fuel Tax Credit System took over from the DFRS in 2006 to provide a simpler mechanism. Excise is paid at the pump and refunded through BAS.

This sounds simple but, in practice, getting the most from your claims is quite complex. From an analysis of over 900 entities, it’s been identified that fuel tax credits are nearly always under-claimed.

The major areas of under-claim are in the transport sector; fuel used in both “light” and “heavy” vehicles.

Are You Claiming (the Maximum) Fuel Tax Credits?

If your business uses fuel, then you may be entitled to recover some or all the amount of fuel tax paid as fuel tax credits. The amount of rebate available depends on the fuel used and the activity in which it is used.

According to the Australian Taxation Office website, fuel tax credits provide businesses with a credit for the fuel tax that’s included in the price of fuel used in:

  • Machinery
  • Plant
  • Equipment
  • Heavy vehicles (greater than 4.5 tonne gross vehicle mass)
  • Light vehicles travelling off public roads or on private roads

What is not obvious from the ATO website is how the different fuel tax credit rates are applied.

Did you know that you can claim around 42 cents per litre (diesel, petrol and certain blended fuels) for the following activities?

  • Heavy vehicles travelling or idling off public roads or on private property
  • Light vehicles travelling or idling off public roads or on private property
  • The use of auxiliary equipment (fridges, concrete agitators, tippers etc.) on heavy vehicles

The complexity with seeking to maximise fuel tax credits arises from determining what is eligible at the different rates and then having to perform detailed calculations in support of your claim.

How Can We Help?

We have partnered with Deloitte to offer you a straight forward solution to get the most out of your fuel tax credit claims.

Accurate GPS based telemetry data and vehicle information from Pulse GPS is fed into the Fuel Tax Radar system. This data is matched to a comprehensive database that includes:

  • data on fuel consumption in all major vehicle types;
  • all auxiliary equipment types;
  • typical “off-road” locations used such as distribution centres; and
  • non-public road locations such as ports and things like rest areas off highways.

The system combines idle time data with journey data and fuel consumption data to fully test what is ‘fair and reasonable’ for your claims.

More than 500 fuel tax credit clients have received over $150 million of refunds from the ATO.

Fuel Tax Credits Radar

Retrospective Claims

Do you feel like you may have missed the boat? The good news is that businesses can go back up to four years to obtain refunds. With our assistance, you will have an opportunity to correct retrospective claims for off road and auxiliary fuel use. This could amount to thousands of dollars!

How Much Does It Cost?

This service is provided on a contingent fee basis. What does that mean you ask? If our partners can’t get you a refund, you won’t pay. Call us on 1300 88 36 79 to discuss the fees in detail.

Maximise Your Entitlements

As fuel is a major cost for the transport sector, it is important to maximise entitlements to reduce net fuel cost. If you think that you may have been under claiming the fuel tax credits in your business, download and complete our free Fuel Tax Credit Claim Checklist. It will help you identify if you have been missing out.

Other Info

Fuel Tax Credit Rates

The fuel tax credit rates mentioned in this post were effective as at – 3rd February 2020.

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.

Light Vehicles

Light vehicles are vehicles that have a gross vehicles mass (GVM) less than 4.5 tonnes.

Auxiliary Equipment

Auxiliary equipment includes equipment and mechanisms unrelated to a vehicle’s travel along public roads, for example the mixing barrel of concrete trucks, garbage bin lifters/compactors, refrigeration units, air-conditioning of a commercial bus or coach etc.

Off Public Roads

Off public roads includes private roads, work sites (e.g. construction & mine sites), depots & agricultural properties etc.


In Australia, the member firm is the Australian partnership of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. As one of Australia’s leading professional services firms, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and its affiliates provide audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through approximately 6,000 people across the country. Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges.


This blog contains general information only and should not be construed as rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your finances or your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser.