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ATO Interpretative Decision

ATO ID 2002/925

Fringe Benefits Tax
Car Fringe Benefits: Log book requirements - high integrity electronic devices

FOI status: may be released
Status of this decision: Decision Current

CautionCAUTION: This is an edited and summarised record of a Tax Office decision. This record is not published as a form of advice. It is being made available for your inspection to meet FOI requirements, because it may be used by an officer in making another decision.

This ATOID provides you with the following level of protection:

If you reasonably apply this decision in good faith to your own circumstances (which are not materially different from those described in the decision), and the decision is later found to be incorrect you will not be liable to pay any penalty or interest. However, you will be required to pay any underpaid tax (or repay any over-claimed credit, grant or benefit), provided the time limits under the law allow it. If you do intend to apply this decision to your own circumstances, you will need to ensure that the relevant provisions referred to in the decision have not been amended or repealed. You may wish to obtain further advice from the Tax Office or from a professional adviser.


Issue

Can a high integrity electronic device, other than the motor vehicle's own odometer, be used in keeping a log book when ascertaining the value of a car fringe benefit under Section 10 of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (FBTAA), when the log book is generated and entries completed on a weekly basis?

Decision

Yes. A high integrity electronic devices, other than the motor vehicle's own odometer, can be used in keeping a log book when ascertaining the value of a car fringe benefit under Section 10 of the FBTAA, when the log book is generated and entries completed on a weekly basis.

Facts
History note:
The facts of this ATO ID were amended to substitute the word 'developed' with 'purchased' because it is not material to the ATO ID whether the taxpayer developed the GPS recording system.

The employer has purchased a high integrity global positioning system (GPS) to record the distances travelled by motor vehicles. The system, which is attached to the cars of employees, records the distances travelled from one point to the next as well as the date and time of the journeys.

The opening odometer reading of the car is programmed into the system and the GPS continuously tracks the location and distance of journeys undertaken in the car.

Standard journeys can be stored on a database with the co-ordinates of the locations recorded on that database.

A draft log book is generated once a week and given to the driver to record the purpose of each non-standard journey undertaken in the car. Once this updated data is entered into the database, a log book report is generated for the employee to sign off, also on a weekly basis. This log book report contains all the details required to meet the definition of 'log book records' under subsection 136(1) of the FBTAA.

Reasons for Decision

'Odometer' is not defined in the FBTAA, but the Macquarie dictionary defines it as 'an instrument for measuring distance passed over, by a motor vehicle'.

'Odometer records', as defined in subsection 136(1) of the FBTAA makes reference to 'odometer readings of the car '. In this regard, it is concluded that, whilst these readings must pertain to the car, it does not necessarily mean that they must also be attributable either wholly or in part to the rotation of the car's wheels, thereby mechanically moving the standard odometer fitted in the car by the manufacturer.

The Commissioner may accept other non-standard electronic odometer devices being used, subject to the integrity of such devices used.

In maintaining 'log book records' as defined, entries should be made 'as soon as reasonably practicable, after the end of the journey'. It is ATO policy to expect that normally such entries would be made in the log on the same day as the journey undertaken. However, in a situation where either it is not practical to generate a hard copy of the log on a daily basis from such devices or the employees do not have access to a hard copy of the log on a daily basis, the period for making such entries may be extended.

On this basis, the use of a high integrity electronic device, other then the motor vehicle's own odometer, whereby the log book is produced and entries completed on a weekly basis is accepted as meeting the requirements of the law.

Date of decision: 22 February 2002

Year of income:Year ending 31 March 2002
 Year ending 31 March 2003
 Year ending 31 March 2004

Legislative References:
Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986
   Section 10A
   Subsection 136(1)

Keywords
Fringe benefits tax
Car fringe benefits
FBT log book records
Odometer

Date of publication: 26 September 2002

ISSN: 1445-2782

 


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